ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The state’s only COVID-19 testing site in Southwestern Utah at Dixie Technical College is expanding it’s lanes and operation hours just in time for the holidays.
“We noticed we have a lot of people traveling, the holidays are coming up and we really wanted to make sure people are able to get that done as they are leaving the country, a lot of different countries have different requirements as you’re traveling and they need that negative test,” says Carolina Herrin, the Operations Director for Nomi Health.
Starting Monday, there’s a designated testing lane for those expecting to travel in the coming weeks the only other site like this is at the state’s health department in Salt Lake City.
“On average we do about 400-600 tests a day our travel lane in Salt Lake has done over 1,000 tests and we’ve barely been open for a month not even a full month, so we’re looking to have those numbers increase in St. George as well,” says Herrin.
The testing site is now open from 7 AM to 7 PM, seven days a week. Rapid molecular tests, PCR and rapid antigen tests are available.
“All Utah residents, you can get this service for free, we just need to know you have a boarding pass, or you’re traveling so any type of proof of that, proof of residency and it’s completely free,” says Herrin.
Anyone from out-of-state has to pay a $179 fee for the rapid PCR test, however standard PCR and rapid antigen tests are an option and free of charge.
HARRISBURG, PA – Poachers are thieves. Help us catch them.The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Operation Game Thief (OGT) program protects wild birds and wild mammals by encouraging those with information related to wildlife crimes to report it as soon as possible. Wildlife crimes affect everyone and reporting illegal wildlife activity helps to protect wildlife for current and future generations.
“Whether you’re a hunter, a trapper, a bird watcher or someone who enjoys walking in the woods, wildlife crimes affect us all,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “If you saw someone breaking into your neighbor’s house or witnessed someone shoplifting at a store, you would likely report it to the appropriate authorities. Reporting poaching incidents should be no different, as it is theft of a natural resource.”
With more than 1,500 submissions per year, Pennsylvania’s OGT program is the third-busiest in the nation behind Texas and Florida. The Game Commission averages a less than 20-minute turnaround from when an OGT tip comes in until an officer is dispatched to the incident
The illegal shooting or taking of big game or protected, endangered or threatened species, or any crime against those species should be reported through OGT. Other violations should be reported to the Game Commission region office serving the county in which the violation took place as quickly as possible.
To make an OGT report, share as many details as possible, including: a description of what was seen and the species involved; the date and time of the occurrence; the county, township and/or address of where the event occurred; a description of the person(s) height, weight, hair color, eye color, approximate age, tattoo or other distinguishing features, clothing, sporting arm, etc.; and a description of a vehicle(s) color, make, model, dents, decals, bumper stickers, license plate number and state, road/route and/or direction of travel.
If the suspected violation involves the killing of big game animals, or threatened or endangered species, an additional $500 penalty may be added to fines levied upon those found guilty of Game and Wildlife Code violations. The $500 enhanced penalty goes into a special fund from which half the amount ($250) may be paid to the individual who provided the information that led to the conviction. The remainder is used to offset the costs of the OGT program. Conservation Officers of Pennsylvania (COPA) also fully support the OGT program. COPA also supplies rewards in many incidents that lead to the successful prosecution of many Game and Wildlife code violations.
“Poaching is not hunting,” said Burhans. “Ethical hunters are conservationists who follow hunting rules, laws, season and bag limits when legally harvesting game. Poachers selfishly ignore the rules and illegally take wildlife from the landscape. Unfortunately, an increase in OGT reports usually occurs during the fall and winter months which is why we’re reminding the public about the program now.”
The Game Commission manages 136 districts across Pennsylvania’s more than 46,000 square miles. Currently 116 full-time state game wardens are assigned to those districts statewide. The eyes and ears of the public are crucial to wildlife protection efforts across the state.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is the state’s wildlife agency which manages and protects wildlife and their habitats, while promoting hunting and trapping, for current and future generations. More information about OGT and the agency is available online at www.pgc.pa.gov.
Azamara has confirmed it will now return to the high seas from August 28th, scuppering plans to begin sailings in July.
Azamara Quest will offer five back-to-back country-intensive voyages and one classic Mediterranean sailing: each seven-days in length and a total of 18 late-night stays in port, including Santorini, Rhodes and Heraklion, Greece.
“Over the past year, our team – ship to shoreside – continued to connect with our guests and travel partners.
“Our biggest takeaway is the desire everyone has to sail again, and we are excited to share that we can finally make this dream come true,” said president of Azamara, Carol Cabezas.
“There’s no better way to return to service than in a country Azamara knows best, Greece.
“Our return to sail wouldn’t be possible without the support from minister Harry Theoharis, the local government and port authorities, and we are extremely grateful for welcoming us back into this beautiful and culturally rich destination.”
Voyages will open for booking on May 11th.
Azamara said all guests and crew will be required to be fully vaccinated no later than 14-days prior to departure.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Azamara and its guests in Greece in August,” added Theoharis.
“We fully support the line’s return to cruising in the Aegean waters and we are sure that all of its passengers will have unique experiences in our beautiful destinations.”
Royal Caribbean is currently in the process of selling Azamara to private investors.
Claire Griffiths may have expected some level of discomfort when she woke up from an operation to correct a prolapsed bowel. But as the anaesthetic wore off, the married mother-of-two describes the sensation as “the most immense pain I’ve ever been in”.
“The nurses kept telling me that it was caused by the way they had positioned me in surgery,”’ says Griffiths, 39, from Herefordshire.
“But I was in agony and they couldn’t control it, even with morphine and paracetamol. Childbirth was more manageable. This pain was like a burning sensation, all through my sacrum (the base of the spine) and despite the medication, it continued for around six weeks.”
Unfortunately for Griffiths, this intense pain was far from a one-off incident.
Since the rectopexy operation in April 2013, Griffiths now lives in almost constant, debilitating pain caused by the controversial ‘mesh’ technique used in the surgery.
She has been forced to quit her job as an associated nurse practitioner due to ill-health. Her mother is now her carer and she requires crutches to walk and a wheelchair to travel any further than 20 yards.
Griffiths’ case is far from unique. The Rectopexy Mesh Victims And Support Group on Facebook has nearly 700 – mostly female – members.
The Sling the Mesh campaign for other victims has nearly 9,000 members but those figures are thought to be the tip of the iceberg.
“Nobody really knows how many are suffering because the NHS and the regulatory body the MHRA has not kept a database of how many women have had the operation and how many are suffering,” says Sling the Mesh’s founder Kath Samson.
“A third of women in the support group have experienced mesh erosion – where it has sliced through the vagina walls and cut into bowels, bladders, wombs and urethras.
“Some women now have stomas and colostomy bags where they have had to have organs removed – and all this for what was supposed to be a 20-minute simple operation to fix an embarrassing health problem.”
Watch: Mesh scandal: ‘Truth is traumatic’
Griffiths’ story began in 2012 when, after years of suffering from constipation, she was told she had a bowel prolapse.
“My consultant said there was this new ‘quick fix’ where mesh is attached to the sacrum with pins and that’s attached to the vaginal wall to hold it into place,” she says.
“I’d never heard of it before but I trusted the consultant and wasn’t warned of any complications or adverse effects.
“After the initial six weeks of pain after waking up from surgery, I was well for about a year but then the pain returned.
“At first, it was manageable but eventually it became so uncomfortable that I went to see a gynaecological consultant who put it down to ‘female problems’ and told me to lose some weight.”
“But by 2017 – the year I got married – I was having to take time off from work because I was in so much pain.
“I would get severe bloating where I’d look nine months pregnant. When Jason and I went on a cruise to Madeira, I woke one day and I couldn’t walk for the pain. My back and legs were burning. I knew it couldn’t just be ‘female problems’ and I even went back to my original surgeon who examined me and said that everything seemed to be fine with the surgery. I was at my wits’ end.”
It wasn’t until Griffiths spotted a news report that everything changed.
“I was watching television and heard about other women suffering from mesh surgery and I broke down in tears because I realised it wasn’t just me suffering with this pain,” she says.
“I went back to my GP and told her I thought it was the mesh causing the problems and she prescribed low level pain medication.
“But I knew I needed further help. I was lucky as my parents paid for me to see private surgeons who examined me and said my insides are a mass of adhesions and mesh.
“My bowel is tucked to my uterus, the mesh in incredibly tight and that’s where the pain is coming from. I have burning in my legs, no feeling in the tops of my legs, nerve damage to my stomach and rectum. I couldn’t open my bowels for six weeks so last July I had to have a stoma fitted and I have to self-catheterise seven times a day.
“At some point in the future I will have to have an operation which will close up my anus, rectum and colon.
“It’s too risky to remove the mesh as my tissue has grown around it so now I’m with a pain consultant who is looking at infusing lidocaine to take some of the pain away.
The surgery has not only these horrific physical but also mental scars.
“The mum guilt about not being able to do things like shopping with my daughter or watching my son play football is huge,” says Griffiths.
“And seeing my mum care for me when she should be enjoying her retirement is very upsetting.
“Some women who have had mesh surgery have killed themselves because of the pain and although there have been times where I feel fed up of fighting to be heard, I am strong and I need to stay here for my husband and children,” she says.
“Hopefully, I’ve got a long life ahead of me and if the pain can be managed better, I can have a better quality of life.”
Watch: Medical safety review into medical interventions such as pelvic mesh is a ‘wake-up call’