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Miss PA Junior Teen
Miss PA Junior Teen, Jazzlyn Harris of DuBois, to compete in national competition

DuBOIS — Fourteen-year-old Jazzlyn Harris of DuBois, the 2020 USA National Miss Pennsylvania Junior Teen, leaves today to compete in the weeklong national competition in Orlando, Florida.

A student at the DuBois Area Middle School, Harris won the Miss Pennsylvania title on Aug. 11, 2019 in Harrisburg. She is the daughter of Billy and Carrie Harris of DuBois.

“I was excited to have a year with a team of encouraging girls from all around the state such as Corry, Butler, Clintonville, York, Hanover and Harrisburg,” said Harris on her reaction after winning the title.

Competing in pageants since age 8, Harris has won charity queen, talented miss, and a national role model award.

While doing pageants, Harris said she enjoys the fashion aspect and modeling, the volunteering and the positive pageantry aspect of supporting other girls.

Originally, the national competition was supposed to be held at Disney World in June, but was postponed due to COVID-19.

During the national competition, Harris will compete with other contestants, ages 13-16, in a three-minute interview, runway, and the evening gown. Additionally, Harris is submitting for the national role model competition, the community service award, non-performing talent and the live photoshoot, where her modeling skills will be judged. She will be competing with 50 of the nation’s aspiring hopefuls.

The most challenging aspect of competing in pageants is the interview process which started for her around the age of 12.

“You have to introduce yourself and answer questions posed by a panel of esteemed judges,” said Harris. “The judges for Nationals is a former Miss America, current Miss USA state titleholders, celebrity news corespondent Megan Alexander and the Miss Universe runner-up from Puerto Rico. They are looking for the best representative of the system that will use social media and be able to promote the platform “Crown CARES” which is the anti-bullying campaign in schools.”

Harris has spent her year as Miss Pennsylvania Junior Queen preparing by getting involved in community events, serving as a foster for cats with Purrfect Paws Cat Rescue SBCF and enjoying time with her Pennsylvania sister queens.

Harris completed 145.50 hours of volunteer time during her reign.

She says her favorite trip was the Christmas queens trip to Hershey.

Her favorite volunteer opportunities were those at the Soul Platter Cafe due to their great food and having the support of the DuBois community.

Since COVID-19 has been a barrier to being in the community, she has enjoyed having a mom and litter of kittens living in her home.

Harris is also an all-star cheerleader with Superstar Athletics, where her team placed grand champs earlier this year. She is looking forward to the team’s first virtual competition next month.

Harris expressed appreciation to the following businesses and organizations for their support on her journey, including Luv to Sew for You, The Beauty Bar (Kayla Porrin), JC Penny Salon (Falisha Hutchins), Ashley Vinyl Creations, Soul Platter, Purrfect Paws, her pageant coach Medina Zerishneck, her mother and the community of teachers, family and friends.

The national competition will be aired on pageantslive.com.

PHH now offering walk-in COVID-19 rapid testing

DuBOIS — Penn Highlands Healthcare is now offering to the public walk-in COVID-19 rapid testing which is expected to provide results in 24 hours or less, said PHH Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman during Thursday’s media teleconference.

“We have an adequate supply of rapid tests at this time, but that could change due to demand or increases in volume of cases,” said Norman.

An individual should seek a test if they’re experiencing any of the following COVID-19 symptoms: Loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, diarrhea, or vomiting with any of the above symptoms.

Someone could also seek a rapid COVID-19 test if they believe they have been exposed to a COVID-positive person, he said.

In these cases, rapid COVID-19 testing is available at PPH’s QCare locations in the following communities — QCare Clearfield, QCare at DuBois, QCare at Punxsutawney, Qcare in Moshannon Valley, Qcare at St. Marys, and the Huntingdon Urgent Care.

“A patient can walk in at any of these facilities, get a provider’s order and receive the rapid test if they have symptoms or have been exposed,” said Norman.

Norman said there are other types of COVID-19 tests available that need to be scheduled.

“If someone is looking for a certain type of COVID test, we’d urge them to please contact your primary care provider or go to the Penn Highland MyHealthNow app, select QcareNow, and specifically choose a Penn Highland COVID screening provider who will be able to assist,” said Norman.

On Nov. 11, the state Department of Health offered instructions on what one should do while they wait for their test result:

  • Self-isolate to your home.
  • If you live with others, self-isolate in a private room and use a private bathroom if possible.
  • Make a list of close contacts you have had from two days before you became sick until you began isolation. Close contacts are people who have been within 6 feet of you for 15 minutes or more. A close contact could also be someone you had extremely close contact with (face to face) even if less than 15 minutes or if you spent time with an individual while you were sick.
  • Interact with others as little as possible.
  • Wear a mask if you must be around others.
  • If you develop additional symptoms or if your symptoms get worse, contact your healthcare provider for instructions.

“The safety of our patients, staff continues to be our top priority, and we continue to adapt guidelines and policies according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Norman. “With cases rising throughout the state in our region we greatly appreciate your help in updating our communities as this falls. We’re also committed to ensuring that our patients have access to the care they need.”

More information from the DOH on what one should do if they test positive for COVID-19 can be found at the following link: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/HAN/COVID-19%20Patient%20Instructions%20for%20Self%20Isolation.pdf

Thanksgiving with COVID-19: Penn Highlands doctor offers advice

DuBOIS — Dr. Shaun Sheehan, Penn Highlands Healthcare’s Emergency Services Medical Director and leader of PHH’s COVID-19 Task Force, offered some advice for people wanting to protect themselves and others from getting or spreading COVID-19 on Thanksgiving.

“We know there’s a lot of people out there trying to determine whether they should cancel their Thanksgiving plans,” said Sheehan during Thursday’s media teleconference. “And last week, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) stated that the safest way to celebrate this Thanksgiving is to do so with people you live with already in your household.”

But, for those who plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside of their household, Sheehan discussed ways to keep everyone safe.

“Please get a flu shot before Thanksgiving,” said Sheehan. “For Thanksgiving groceries and Black Friday shopping, shop online, or by delivery, or even think about curbside pickup as much as you possibly can. Make sure you’re wearing a mask, and wearing it correctly over the nose and mouth. Wash your hands immediately with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, before and after meals, and regularly throughout the day.”

Sheehan said Thanksgiving is just doing things that most people do already for the holidays.

“It’s just we want to take some extra time and precautions, clean a little extra, keep your group small with face masks, and if there are large groups try and do this outside, as much as possible,” said Sheehan. “I can’t express enough that really the way to beat this is for everyone to wear a mask, social distance, wash their hands, and avoid large group gatherings.”

Sheehan also re-emphasized how important it is for everyone to continue to seek out medical care.

“For any reason you need emergency treatment, call 911 or get to the emergency department of your nearest hospital,” he said. “In some cases, delaying care puts the patient’s life at risk or makes their condition worse. Again, here at Penn Highlands we’re safe. We have many safety precautions in place across our system, including restricted visitation, temperature checks for employees and anyone who enters a clinical building. There’s required mask wearing, and additional cleaning protocols.”

Sheehan said seeking emergency medical attention should be done when people are very sick and have no other choice, but of course, they will always be happy to see anyone. Primary symptoms people want to watch for to know when they should seek traditional emergency medical care are trouble breathing, persistent pain in their chest, new confusion, inability to stay awake, sometimes the blue color around one’s lips or face are all signs that should be taken seriously.

“I have to express appreciation to every department in our health system. They’re showing a tremendous amount of dedication in caring for all the patients, as well as following our safety precautions,” said Sheehan. “We have a section of our website dedicated for additional information on COVID 19 at PHhealthcare.org/coronavirus.”

Brockway High School to begin blended learning model

BROCKWAY – When students at Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School return from Thanksgiving break, they will have fewer classmates in the chairs beside them.

The junior-senior high school will continue face-to-face, every day instruction until Wednesday, Nov. 25. When school resumes on Dec. 1, students in grades 7-12 will attend in person on an every-other-day basis. Brockway’s blended learning model has students whose last names begin with A-L, Team Rovers, learning in person while M-Z, Team Pride, is remote. The roles will switch the next day. High School Co-Principal Brian Mulhollan said that this is the best option based on the numbers.

“Based on the information we’re receiving from the state, and the recommendations we’re receiving from the Department of Health, it’s been determined we need to change our model for learning for our students,” he said. “We will go to a blended learning model due to the fact we’ve been in the substantial range for the last several weeks. This will best meet the needs of our students and our staff in the situation we’re in.”

In a letter to families in the district, Superintendent Jeff Vizza said that the Brockway community has 31 confirmed cases since March and four confirmed cases in the high school. Only one of those cases was active at the time of his message.

The plan is only for the high school to make the change. The elementary school will continue to function as normal. An email to elementary families confirmed that the school is staying open while the high school goes blended on Dec. 1.

Teachers will be using the time before Thanksgiving to prepare students for the switch and to establish expectations for the use of Google Classroom. The district is also working with families to make sure that all technological needs are met before the plan is in place.

“Our hope is that after we have the opportunity to separate for a while and come back after Christmas break, and if we follow all the measures set forth by the Department of Health, we will be in-person every day like we were before,” Mulhollan said.

More information about the school’s COVID-19 plans can be found at the school district’s website.