Pennsylvania's coronavirus caseload jumped by nearly 50 percent on Thursday. "We have 560 new cases of COVID-19 which brings our statewide total to 1687 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive, now in 48 counties," says State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. She also announced five new deaths from coronavirus, including the first in Lehigh County. We're being told the victim was an 81-year-old Allentown man. The five additional deaths bring the state's total to 16.
New cases of COVID-19 continue to rise dramatically in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy says the state recorded its biggest single-day increase Thursday with another 2492 cases. This brings the state's total number of cases to at least 6876. President Trump has issued an emergency declaration for New Jersey, making the state eligible for special federal funding.
Pennsylvanians filed about 650,000 unemployment compensation claims over the past 11 days as the coronavirus has spread and thousands of businesses closed or laid off employees. The single highest day was Friday, when more than 90,000 people filed claims. That was the day after Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled an order for “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus. In the seven days through Saturday, Pennsylvanians filed about 379,000 claims, smashing the record for an entire week in the state. In the four days since then, Pennsylvanians have filed another 271,000.
A Philadelphia 76ers co-owner is finding innovative ways to help local health care workers. Michael Rubin is also the founder of the sports clothing company Fanatics and says he plans to convert Major League Baseball jerseys made at the company's Northampton County plant into masks and gowns. Rubin says he stopped all production of sports gear to start making medical supplies. The goal is to donate to local hospitals in the state and eventually distribute to New Jersey and New York.
The Easton Farmers' Market will be closing for at least the next three weeks. Operators say that decision was reached after talking with other Pennsylvania farm market operators.
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education says the most-asked question he gets in the one question he can't answer. When will our kids go back to school? "Unfortunately that's one question I can share specific data. But I can promise you that each and every day we are in conversation with the governor and the secretary of health and tracking the data. At the forefront of all of our decisions is whether or not we can ensure our students are safe and healthy," Rivera says. Pedro Rivera says schools don't have to reopen at all after Gov. Tom Wolf waived te 180-day school year rule and, by law, school cannot continue beyond June 30th.
PennDOT and the Department of Homeland Security are extending the REAL ID deadline by a year in the wake of the coronavirus. Residents will now have until October 1st, 2021 to have the new ID, which can be obtained at state driver and photo license centers. Those centers are closed right now and remain so until April 3rd at the soonest.
Since Gov. Tom Wolf's order to close all non-life-sustaining businesses, Pennsylvania state Police have issued 57 warnings, including 13 more on Wednesday. Four of the 57 were issued out by Troop M, which covers Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Two have been issued by Troop N in Carbon and Monroe counties as well as Troop L, which is responsible for Berks and Schuylkill counties. Troopers in Troop F have issued five warnings. Zero citations have been issued anywhere in the commonwealth.
The number of coronavirus cases in Philadelphia continues to rise. City health officials have reported 475 cases of coronavirus and a jump of 133 from Wednesday. Philadelphia's Health Department is now assuming anyone who tests positive for the virus contracted it through community transmission.
Wawa stores in Philadelphia are stopping all made-to-order food amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Food items will still be available through Door Dash, Uber Eats and Grub Hub. Anyone who places an order through the mobile app will be sent to one of four locations that are temporarily converted to delivery and mobile order sites.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is reminding anglers that due to the coronavirus pandemic there will not be a Mentored Youth Trout Day tomorrow in 18 southeastern counties. Instead, a statewide mentored youth day will be held April 11th. There will also be just one opening day of trout season for the entire state on April 18th.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he won't revisit whether or not to reopen schools until April 17th at the earliest, as the fall out from the coronavirus outbreak continues. "I'm aware that some school districts have already begun advising families about when they anticipat reopening. Let me be perfectly clear on this. That decision rests with yours truly," Murphy says. Some of the state's school districts had begun to send out letters to parents concerning upcoming dates and spring break schedules. Gov. Murphy went on to say the "facts on the ground" will guide his decision.
Penn State's football coach admits he's been thrown off a bit by the coronavirus pandemic. "I like to be planned and organized for everything that I possibly can be. I will admit this isn't something that we had a plan for," says James Franklin. His team will have no spring practices and no Blue-White game next month. He says technology allows him to hold team meetings with his players, who are spread all over the country thanks to the pandemic.