Watch For A Call: Chesco Officials Booking Vaccine Appointments

Article by Marlene Lang from West Chester Patch

WEST CHESTER, PA — Chester County elected officials and volunteers on Saturday will be making calls to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Government Services Center on Westtown Road in West Chester.

Calls to set up vaccine appoints have begun as supply is becoming available. At noon on March 6, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, Michelle Kichline along with other officials, Chester County Health Department Director Jeanne Franklin, health department staff, and county employee volunteers will begin phone banking the long list of Chester County registrants who await appointments. They’ll work from the Chester County Government Services Center at 601 Westtown Road in West Chester.

On Saturday the group will be calling Phase 1A registrants in the county who are next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, scheduling appointments for the coming week, according to a news release from Chester County Information Officer Rebecca Brain.

The Chester County Health Department said it has invested in “a robust and secure scheduling software system to improve upon the booking of vaccine appointments.”

But the county explained that until the new system is in place, the Health Department has taken a personal — and very secure — approach to booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments: Calling people.

Governor Wolf’s direction given this week, to vaccinate educators throughout Pennsylvania using the State’s initial allocation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, will be undertaken at the state level, through the 28 Intermediate Units across Pennsylvania and with support from Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Chester County’s government website explained.

“In Chester County, the Chester County Intermediate Unit will take the lead in vaccinating educators with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” the site noted.

“At the Chester County Health Department, we will maintain our focus on vaccinating individuals in Phase 1A who live and work in Chester County, using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. We continue our requests for maximum doses of vaccines from the State Department of Health, and are ready to open appointments and administer the vaccine for those in Phase 1A as quickly as we receive those doses,” the county’s statement said.

For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine in Chester County click here.

Hope for Hospitality – Support Restaurants!

Hope for Hospitality is a new initiative, presented by the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, Neff, and Main Line Today to encourage citizens to dine in and eat local during these rough winter months.

When patrons dine in at a participating restaurant and share it on social media, they will be eligible to win a $25 visa gift card!

This campaign will run from February 1 to March 31st, so make sure you get out there and test your luck, all while supporting local restaurants!

https://www.hopeforhospitalitypa.com/

Airport Custodians Demanding COVID-19 Vaccines

Article from CMM

Essential workers like some custodians, housekeepers, and health care workers were among the first employees nationwide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Several states have added other workers to the list, like those with chronic health conditions and teachers. Custodians at San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California have yet to receive their vaccinations and are calling on state officials to put them higher on the list, KPBS-RADIO reports.

The custodians, who belong to Service Employees International Union (SEIU), recently protested outside of the airport. They are requesting that California Gov. Gavin Newsom move them up on the essential worker vaccination list.

Genovev Aguilar, a SEIU organizer, told KPBS that the custodians are disinfecting the airport every day and are at risk of contracting COVID-19. “We’re not asking for a lot. We’re just asking to be alive. That’s it,” she said.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told KPBS the county wants to make the COVID-19 vaccines available to the workers, but it may not be possible for a while. “We don’t know what the supply of vaccines will be,” Fletcher said. “Once we have slack in the system, we will open it up to that first tier of essential workers.”

SEIU members also protested at other California airports, including Los Angeles International Airport and Oakland International Airport, demanding access to vaccines.

Local Doctor’s Invention Helps Cover Unpleasant Mask Odors

Article by Christine Tarlecki from Vista Today

Even before the pandemic made masks a necessity, Dr. Mark Pizzini, a Fox Chase Cancer Center anesthesiologist and University of Pennsylvania professor, was working on a way to remove some of the unpleasant odors that can arise from using face covering, writes Lynne Adkins for KYW Newsradio.

“There can be lots of challenging scents in the operating room,” Pizzini said. “I thought it would be great to have some way to cover up those scents.”

At the time, some of the nurses in the recovery area were helping patients deal with nausea and anxiety using aromatherapies, “and I thought this would be a great pairing of the ideas,” he said.

So five years ago, he designed ScentClip, a small clip that can be attached to the mask and filled with a scented gel.

“It’s a small recyclable plastic device that has a clip on it that fits into nearly any mask,” said Pizzini.

His company, Aroxel Corp, makes the clips in purple and red, and each pod lasts for up to three weeks. The available scents are apple orchard and periwinkle lavender.

Read more about the invention at KYW Newsradio by clicking here.

HUD to Enforce Fair Housing Act to Prohibit Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Article from MyChesco

HUD directive begins implementation of the policy set forth in Biden executive order to prevent and combat sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it will administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) issued a memorandum stating that HUD interprets the Fair Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and directing HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds to enforce the Act accordingly. The memorandum begins implementation of the policy set forth in President Biden’s Executive Order 13988 on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation (Executive Order), which directed executive branch agencies to examine further steps that could be taken to combat such discrimination.

“Housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity demands urgent enforcement action,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of FHEO, Jeanine M. Worden. “That is why HUD, under the Biden Administration, will fully enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Every person should be able to secure a roof over their head free from discrimination, and the action we are taking today will move us closer to that goal.”

The significance of this action, according to HUD officials, is underscored by a number of housing discrimination studies which indicate that same-sex couples and transgender persons in communities across the country experience demonstrably less favorable treatment than their straight and cisgender counterparts when seeking rental housing. Despite this reality, the Department has been constrained in its efforts to address housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by legal uncertainty about whether most such discrimination was within HUD’s reach.

The memorandum relies on the Department’s legal conclusion that the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination provisions are comparable in text and purpose to those of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars sex discrimination in the workplace. In Bostock v Clayton County, the Supreme Court held that workplace prohibitions on sex discrimination include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD states it has now determined that the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination in housing likewise includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Accordingly, and consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order, HUD will enforce the Fair Housing Act to prevent and combat such discrimination.

“Enforcing the Fair Housing Act to combat housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity isn’t just the right thing to do-it’s the correct reading of the law after Bostock,” said Damon Y. Smith, Principal Deputy General Counsel. “We are simply saying that the same discrimination that the Supreme Court has said is illegal in the workplace is also illegal in the housing market.”

The memorandum directs actions by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and HUD-funded fair housing partners to enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Specifically, the memorandum directs the following:

  • HUD will accept and investigate all jurisdictional complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation, and enforce the Fair Housing Act where it finds such discrimination occurred.
  • HUD will conduct all activities involving the application, interpretation, and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination consistent with its conclusion that such discrimination includes discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • State and local jurisdictions funded by HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) that enforce the Fair Housing Act through their HUD-certified substantially equivalent laws will be required to administer those laws to prohibit discrimination because of gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Organizations and agencies that receive grants through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiative Program (FHIP) must carry out their funded activities to also prevent and combat discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • FHEO Regional Offices, FHAP agencies, and FHIP grantees are instructed to review, within 30 days, all records of allegations (inquiries, complaints, phone logs, etc.) received since January 20, 2020, and notify persons who alleged discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation that their claims may be timely and jurisdictional for filing under this memorandum.

Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (TTY/Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be submitted online at hud.gov/fairhousing.

A copy of the directive is available here.