St. Marys

People lining up outside of a school gym, waiting to get COVID-19 vaccines
Min Xian / WPSU

As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out unevenly in Pennsylvania, Elk County is a leader in administration of shots. The rural county ranks second in the rate of fully vaccinated residents in the commonwealth, according to the Department of Health’s dashboard Tuesday. 

Montour County, where Geisinger Health is headquartered in Danville, has the highest rate of residents who are fully inoculated.

Mount Nittany Health pharmacy supervisor David Johnson receives the hospital's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 16, 2020.
Mount Nittany Health

Officials with Penn Highlands Healthcare said they expect to get 975 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at each of three of their facilities slated for the first round of distribution in Pennsylvania: Penn Highlands DuBois, Elk and Huntingdon.

Andrew Kurtz, system director for retail pharmacy services at Penn Highlands, said about 240 staff in the emergency unit, ICU, cardiovascular ICU and lung center will be the first to receive the vaccine Friday. 

Photo of the outside of the Penn Highlands DuBois hospital
Penn Highlands Healthcare

As Pennsylvania sets multiple records for one-day increases in COVID-19 cases in recent days, Penn Highlands Healthcare announced Thursday it’s offering rapid COVID-19 testing in six locations.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman announced during a conference call that rapid testing will be available in six Penn Highlands locations for symptomatic individuals or those who have been exposed. Those include Clearfield, DuBois, Punxsutawney, Moshannon Valley, St. Marys and Huntingdon.

St. Marys Businesses Count On Local Support To Weather The COVID-19 Economy

Sep 24, 2020
A bird's-eye view of the city of St. Marys, Pennsylvania
Courtesy of stmaryspa.gov

COVID-19 is putting many small town businesses in Pennsylvania in a financial squeeze due to coronavirus closures and people quarantining. This summer, WPSU partnered with students in Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications to look at how towns in central Pennsylvania, like St. Marys, are doing in the run-up to the presidential election.

“You have to understand something about St. Marys. This is not a typical place,” said Ann Gabler. 

On a normal day, 12 presses and six furnaces run nearly round-the-clock at Catalus Corp., a powdered metal manufacturer in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.

Now, all are idled.

St. Marys, population 13,000 in rural Elk County, is a hub for powdered metal manufacturing. The area is also known for lush forests and game lands, where herds of elk congregate.

A bird's-eye view of the city of St. Marys, Pennsylvania
Courtesy of stmaryspa.gov

A light bulb plant in Elk County will close this October, LEDVANCE LLC announced on April 23. An estimated 175 workers in St. Marys will be affected by the closure.

In a statement, the company — which used to be known as Sylvania — said sales for traditional light bulbs have declined due to a switch to LED lights; meanwhile, the demand for LED bulbs also dropped because of their longevity.