Pennsylvania's coronavirus case numbers continue to grow. "We have 108 new cases of COVID-19," says State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. That brings the statewide total to 479. Two additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported over the weekend. One was a 72-year-old man in Montgomery County. The other was a 56-year-old man in Monroe County. Coronavirus is now being blamed for four deaths in Pennsylvania so far.
Berks County's updated coronavirus cases number now stands at 13. Bucks County has 32 cases. Lehigh County has bumped up to 19. Northampton County has 21 coronavirus cases and one death and Schuylkill County has one lone case reported.
This weekend, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a stay-at-home order for all Garden State residents as the state expands efforts to combat COVID-19. The order lets residents go to the grocery store, see their doctor and report to work if necessary. But the governor urged everyone to continue practicing safe social distancing. A surge in confirmed cases of the coronavirus this weekend brought the state's total to 1914 and the number of deaths to 20.
Many Pennsylvania businesses were forced to close their doors at 8 this morning. "We will begin to enforce the orders issued on Thursday for all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations," says Gov. Tom Wolf. He extended his original order that was supposed to take effect at 12:01 Saturday morning. State police Col. Robert Evanchick says they're ready to help ensure compliance with the governor's order, with those who refuse facing possible criminal penalties which include fines and even jail time.
Miller-Keystone Blood Center has lost nearly 70 blood drives since the coronavirus pandemic began here and spokesperson Marie Clemens says those canceled drives are being felt. "Both locally and nationally we have an approximate two days supply of inventory on the shelves for our regional hospitals. We typically like to have a minimum of three days on the shelves," Clemens says. She says it could be an issue for a month or more. If you're healthy and would like to donate, go to www.giveapint.org or call 800-223-6667.
Some local hospitals are looking for help to avoid potential supply shortages. St. Luke's University Health Network is now accepting donations of surgical masks, N95 masks, goggles, face shields, vinyl gloves, hand sanitizer, Lysol and Clorox, including wipes. Fabric for making masks as well as hospital-grade cleaning supplies are also being accepted. Donations can be dropped off at several Urgent Care locations across the Lehigh Valley.
The Senate is expected to vote again today to advance a coronavirus stimulus package. The trillion-dollar bill didn't get anywhere close to the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle Sunday evening and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey is disappointed. "A married couple with three kids living anywhere in America who are wage earners, who have middle or low income, they'd get $3900 in a couple of weeks. If the check doesn't get there, let me just make it clear why. It's because our Democrat colleagues voted 'no'. They voted against sending that check," Toomey says. Senate Democrat leaders claim the bill gives corporations too much wiggle room and doesn't give working Americans enough protection.
Pennsylvania residents will now have an additional 90 days to file their 2019 state personal income tax returns. The Department of Revenue has extended the deadline from April 15th to July 15th. This was made in concert with the extension of federal filings, as associated penalties and fees have also been electronically to help avoid delays.
The Department of State is suspending some nurse licensing requirements during the coronavirus outbreak. Administrative rules, like expiring license expiration dates and associated fees, are either being suspended or waived to help keep as many nurses on the job. The move also reportedly allows flexibility for some 14,000 nurse practitioners in the coming weeks.
City officials are issuing a stay-at-home order for Philadelphia amid the coronavirus outbreak. The order took effect this morning at 8 o'clock. Mayor Jim Kenney made the announcement Sunday and it prohibits gatherings outside the home. Kenney says residents weren't following previous requests and it forced him to put more restrictions in place. Residents may still leave home to shop for groceries, care for elderly family and medical needs.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is calling out racist attacks on Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. He didn't cit a specific incident but he called the behavior repugnant and repulsive. Murphy also says companies must stop any harassment of Asian Americans by co-workers who blame them for the virus or who call it the Chinese virus. His comment came one week after an incident in which a man was charged with bias intimidation after he used a racial slur in blaming another man for the virus.
Many businesses are suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic but one business is enjoying booming sales. The medical marijuana industry has seen a jump in sales. Many patients have immune issues or other conditions that can make them especially susceptible to the coronavirus. New Jersey health officials say currently there are no overall supply shortages. New Jersey has nine dispensaries.
Weekend crashes killed three people in the Lehigh Valley. 41-year-old Griff Boland was riding his motorcycle when it collided with a sedan at the corner of Hanover Avenue and North Graham Street late Friday night. A 44-year-old Alburtis woman died in an accident on Route 100 near Tollgate Road in Hereford Township. Kimberly Planer was killed when her vehicle hit another vehicle just before 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon. About three hours later, 64-year-old Ginger Rodgers, of Palmerton, was killed in a crash on Mountain Road in Washington Township. Investigators say Rodgers' care left the road and struck a tree.
Police in Easton are looking for two men who have allegedly been offering candy to children out of a car. The incident reportedly happened on Saturday night near the 100-block of East St. Joseph Street. The car is described as a Honda-type sedan, possibly black, with New Jersey plates and a black male passenger.