A sad first in Pennsylvania's fight against the coronavirus. "The Department of Health confirms that a person in Northampton County passed away from COVID-19. This is the first death from the coronavirus in Pennsylvania," says Gov. Tom Wolf. The local victim is 55-year-old Carmine Fusco, who died Wednesday afternoon at St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill. Fusco is the third member of his family to die from coronavirus. His sister, Rita, died last Friday and his mother, Grace, died last night. All three deaths are linked to a family gathering that the first New Jersey coronavirus victim, John Brennan, attended. Fusco family members say four other relatives who attended the same gathering are now in critical condition.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday says the state's coronavirus case load now stands at 133 after 37 more were added yesterday. New numbers come every day usually around noontime.
As efforts at social distancing intensify, New Jersey coronavirus cases have risen to 427 with two new deaths reported. Health officials confirmed 162 cases as of Wednesday. The latest deaths are women who were older than 60 and had underlying health issues. There are now five deaths in New Jersey blamed on COVID-19.
Local shoppers have even fewer options than they did two days ago. Due to coronavirus concerns, Simon Property Group is temporarily closing all its properties in the U.S., including the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township, the Crossings Premium Outlets in Tannersville and Philadelphia Premium Outlets near Pottstown. The closures will remain in place until at least March 29th. The Palmer Park Mall also announced last night it will be temporarily closed beginning today.
The Allentown Diocese is taking Masses online until the coronavirus outbreak subsides. The diocese announced earlier in the week it would no longer hold public Masses and Wednesday Bishop Alfred Schlert said he'd preside over a Mass that will be streamed live every day beginning at 8am from his private chapel. Those who want to participate can stream the mass at www.allentowndiocese.org.
Bethlehem leaders are trying to make things easier for businesses and their customers during the coronavirus pandemic. The city's Parking Authority is now giving drivers free parking for up to 15 minutes. Officials say it's for people ordering takeout or picking up items and delivery drivers to receive and deliver orders. The new policy began Wednesday and will run through March 30th but will be extended if needed.
Northampton County temporarily is processing marriage licenses for county residents only. Wednesday, county Executive Lamont McClure issued the new policy as neighboring counties have also reduced services, amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Passport seekers may want to consider an alternative avenue as it is still required that people remain six feet apart in the Northampton County Courthouse, with no more than ten people in a line for services.
Kris DePaolo, with Werner and Company CPAs says the coronavirus has prompted the IRS to do something it may have never done before. "If you have a balance due on your tax return and that you normally file on April 15th, you now until July 15th to make that payment. There will be no penalties," DePaolo says. He says you still need to 'file' your federal return by April 15th, however any payment you owe isn't due until July 15th. He says this does not extend to state tax returns.
Montgomery County officials say a one-year-old boy from Royersford is in the hospital with coronavirus. This is one of eight new cases in the county and it's unclear how the boy contracted the virus. The total number of cases in Montgomery County is now at 42.
State leaders are scaling back a plan to close all rest stops along Pennsylvania highways. Following a plea from the Independent Drivers Association, PennDOT officials decided to reopen 13 of the state's 30 rest areas for truck drivers carrying cargo through the commonwealth. Each of the locations will have its parking lots open at night to allow the drivers to get some sleep. Indoor facilities will remain closed, but a bank of five porta-potties will be in place, with each cleaned daily.
A state senator is pushing to have HIPPA protections suspended during the coronavirus spread. Sen. Doug Mastriano wants to thave the names and locations of patients released for the safety of their neighbors. Mastriano added that while a person's privacy must be protected, so must the health and well being of everyone around them.
Penn State is extending its remote-delivery period for all classes and exams through the spring semester. The university is also postponing spring commencement ceremonies and says it's looking into other ways to celebrate their students' achievements. Penn State says it will soon announce a plan for students to return to on-campus residence halls to collect their belongings and move out.
There are 16 Allegheny County sheriff's deputies self-isolating after a deputy who may have been directly exposed to coronavirus came to work Wednesday. It's reported the deputy's son's girlfriend and mom were recently in Spain and the deputy began showing some of the COVID-19 symptoms. The individual interacted with the other 15 deputies before being sent to be tested for an infection. It's unclear if the deputy's son's girlfriend or mom are among the positive coronavirus tests.
Police in Lakewood Township, New Jersey broke up two weddings they say exceeded the state-mandated 50-person limit. New Jersey has banned all gatherings with more than 50 people to help control the coronavirus pandemic. Police could not confirm the actual number of guests attending each wedding, but they say they far exceeded the 50-person limit. They say guests and other attendees at both weddings were cooperative and left without causing any trouble.
Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is signing a four-year contract with the New Orleans Saints. The Pro-Bowler will return to the Saints after playing six seasons in Philadelphia.
Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is on the move again. The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded Foles to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round draft pick. Foles signed with Jacksonville following the 2018 season.