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County given no information by state on facility with COVID-19 cases

SUNBURY — The Northumberland County commissioners have not been informed which nursing home or personal care facility in the county has diagnosed cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff.

As of Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health was reporting that one such facility in the county has reported COVID-19 cases. Four cases are reported among residents and two among employees.

The facility has not been identified by the state.

Northumberland County Commissioner Chair Sam Schiccatano said the county has not been given any information on what facility may have the cases.

“I don’t know why the state isn’t giving specific information out about nursing homes, but they haven’t,” he said. “I’m sure the state knows what they’re doing.”

Schiccatano said Northumberland County has been notified it will likely move from Pennsylvania’s red to yellow COVID-19 phase on May 8.

According to a release issued by Wolf’s office, yellow phase includes: Stay-at-home restrictions being lifted, in favor of aggressive mitigation; large gatherings of more than 25 people being prohibited; in-person retail will be allowed, with curbside and delivery preferable; restaurants and bars will remain limited to carry-out and delivery only; indoor recreation and entertainment facilities must remain closed; child care operations may open; and all businesses must follow Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health guidelines.

According to Schiccatano, Union and Snyder counties were also notified they will likely qualify to be moved into the yellow phase.

He said the counties will be given additional guidelines on what yellow phase means.

Schiccatano said the Northumberland County commissioners are also talking about what procedures must be put in place in order to reopen county buildings to the public “in the next few weeks.”

He said the county will be looking at putting up shields, such as those placed at supermarket and retail checkouts, in order to protect security officials and other workers in county buildings.

“Hopefully things stay at a low level and we can continue to our back to open society, like we always have been,” Schiccatano said.

During a Wednesday conference call with commissioners from surrounding counties, Schiccatano said it was noted the spring primary will likely be held on June 2.

Previously, Schiccatano said Pennsylvania was soliciting input from counties on whether the election should be pushed back to July.

In Northumberland County, Schiccatano said a meeting will be held to discuss social distancing and other procedures which should be followed at the polls in order to keep everyone safe from potential exposure to COVID-19.

In addition, a date will be scheduled to train poll workers on use of the county’s new voting machines.

“We also have two scanners because there has been a lot of absentee (ballot) requests already,” Schiccatano said. “We will be able to handle the absentee (ballots).”

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Elysburg community gives sendoff to nurse headed to California

ELYSBURG — Kelsey LeVan was in her family home Wednesday evening when she heard the sounds of approaching fire trucks, but what waited outside came as a pleasant surprise.

The 29-year-old Southern Columbia Area graduate was greeted by nearly two dozen neighbors and firefighters, who gathered near the Grande Avenue homestead to wish the nurse a safe journey to California to assist with the pandemic.

LeVan, a daughter of Michael and Beatriz LeVan, was presented with cards, gifts and best wishes during the unique sendoff.

Later that evening, she and her father began the long drive to Geyserville, California, where she will reside in a cottage for three months while working at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center.

Helping others is LeVan’s way of life. She previously assisted staff at hospitals in Alaska for nine months, donated blood and, two years ago, provided a kidney to Andrew Yurkanin, of Dickson City.

“I figured if I can get through that, I can get through anything,” she said of the kidney donation. “Nursing is definitely my calling. It’s something that I just love to do, especially with all that’s going on. I can’t think of anything else I would want to do.”

LeVan said a travel agency notified her of staffing shortages at medical centers throughout the country. She was originally offered a position in Milwaukee, but could not accept because the start date was prior to her contract expiring with Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

“I am expecting a lot of COVID patients. I know the facility I am at now is getting hit hard,” she said of Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa. “That’s what I am expecting and I am OK with that. (Treating people) is something I love to do. And I’ll take the risks with that.”

LeVan thought there was an accident when she first heard the sirens of Elysburg Fire Department’s squad and tanker and was prepared to assist.

She said the sendoff was unexpected, but said the community has empowered her more as a person and a nurse to make a difference.

“I feel sometimes nurses aren’t appreciated that much. We really do take a lot of crap,” she said. “It’s nice to be appreciated and it makes you feel empowered. I think it’s awesome that the community and the United States finally recognizes us.”

Among the well-wishers were nearby resident Harvey Boyer, former president of the Elysburg Fire Department.

“She was part of my EMT class. And (the community) is just so very proud of her and her accomplishments,” Boyer said. “To go to Alaska was one thing, but now, amidst all of this, to go to California is unbelievable. I am very happy to see her continue to flourish and grow as a nurse and be dedicated to her profession.”

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Judge grants Delcamp funding for psychological evaluation

SUNBURY — The mother of 3-year-old murder victim Arabella Parker, who has been charged with criminal homicide as an accomplice in connection with the child’s death, was granted a maximum of $2,500 by a county judge Tuesday to pay for a psychological evaluation.

During a hearing via video, President Judge Charles H. Saylor granted a motion by Delcamp’s attorney Michael O’Donnell to allow a professional psychologist to meet with Delcamp, 24, and evaluate her claims of being a victim of abuse at the hands of her former boyfriend, Jahrid J. Burgess, 19.

The judge agreed to grant $2,500 for the psychological evaluation with the stipulation that the results would be shared with the district attorney’s office.

O’Donnell, who serves as autonomous counsel for the county, told Saylor there may be a delay in the evaluation because of the COVID-19 pandemic since the psychologist cannot go inside the prison to meet with Delcamp.

In an effort to expedite the examination, Saylor asked O’Donnell if video conferencing would be an option. But the defense attorney said the psychologist would rather meet with Delcamp in person.

Delcamp, who was wearing a mask during the video hearing, did not speak during the 20-minute legal proceeding.

Delcamp claims Burgess abused her, causing her to lie to police about the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death. She claims Burgess told her not to report her daughter’s abuse to authorities after an Oct. 10 incident that left Parker beaten so badly that doctors had to remove part of her brain.

The child remained in critical condition on a respirator until she died from her injuries Nov. 22 at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

Burgess, of 725 W. Shamokin St., Trevorton, remains incarcerated at Northumberland County Jail. He is accused of inflicting a severe beating on the 3-year-old girl that led to her death. Police said the crimes occurred between July 19 and Oct. 10 at Burgess’ home, where he lived with the victim and Delcamp.

Burgess and Delcamp are charged by Trooper Brian Siebert with criminal homicide and other offenses.

Burgess’ mother, Christy Willis, 50, of 1343 Plum Creek Road, Sunbury, is charged by Siebert with felonies of obstructing a child abuse case and hindering apprehension or prosecution and a misdemeanor of providing false reports to law enforcement.

Willis remains in Northumberland County Jail in lieu of $200,000 cash bail.

A crew removes the turf at Kemp Memorial Stadium on Tuesday. The district previously announced that an anonymous male alumnus will donate $250,000 toward replacing the turf, which was originally installed in 2005. The total cost of the project is $442,750. The purple “S” at the center of the field was saved with intentions to place it in a locker room.