Pennsylvania's Department of Health added another 780 new COVID-19 cases to Pennsylvania's total, bringing that number to 69,417 since the pandemic began. The coronavirus-related death toll in the commonwealth now stands at 5265.
New Jersey is past its peak of COVID-19 cases. Gov. Phil Murphy says the state is roughly one month into its road back and an enormous amount of progress has been made. Hospitalizations have been on a steady decline for weeks, along with patients in critical care and on ventilators.
Restuarants are learning more about when customers will be able to grab a bit to eat and a seat. Gov. Tom Wolf says outdoor dining at restaurants can resume next Friday, June 5th when parts of the state will either be in the yellow or green reopening phase. Salad bars, buffets and drink stations will not be allowed at first. Refillable containers and reusable menus will also be prohibited. Dine-in service will be permitted inside of restaurants during the green phase, but standing in a bar area will not be. Tables will be limited to a maximum of four people.
The coronavirus pandemic has many people choosing to vote from home in Pennsylvania's primary election next Tuesday. Lehigh County voting officials say they have received nearly 48,000 applications for mail-in and absentee ballots. 2,715 absentee ballots were requested for the 2016 primary. Northampton County officials say they've processed at least 44,000 requests for mail-in ballots this year. The county received 1,688 requests for absentee ballots four years ago for the primary. People must have those ballots in to their county election office by 8 p.m. on June 2, Election Day. Election offices will start counting them on the morning of June 2, but officials say it could take days to complete the process.
Several Pennsylvania counties say they and the postal service can't handle the amount of mail-in ballot requests they received before Tuesday's deadline. Would Gov. Tom Wolf consider extending the deadline to return and count those ballots? "I would be supportive of that, but that would take legislation and I'm not aware of interest in the General Assembly," Wolf says. When asked if he'd consider taking executive action to extend the deadline, Wolf said he didn't think he could do that.Pennsylvania's Department of Health added another 780 new COVID-19 cases to Pennsylvania's total, bringing that number to 69,417 since the pandemic began. The coronavirus-related death toll in the commonwealth now stands at 5265.
The Lehigh County commissioners voted against a resolution asking the governor to reevaluate Lehigh County's timetable to reopen. The vote at Wednesday night's meeting was 2-6, with Commissioner Percy Dougherty not voting due to apparent technical difficulties.
Under the Price Gouging Act, any price increase more than 20 percent during a state of emergency is considered price gouging. Attorney General Josh Shapiro says a local store is guilty of doing just that. Quick Stop Mini Mart in Allentown was selling 500mL bottles of "Chinese Letter Hand Sanitizer" for $20 each. The store must pay $500 in civil penalties and a restitution of $840 for consumers who purchased the hand sanitizer. To be considered, file a consumer complaint form with the PA Office of Attorney General and attach a copy of your receipt showing your purchase of the item between March 6 and May 27. The deadline to file is July 27.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy continues to push for residents to get tested for COVID-19. The governor says the more people who get tested, the stronger the data will be to help the state get to the next step in reopening and recovery. Some 30,000 tests were administered before the Memorial Day weekend, with only seven-percent coming back positive. Meantime, 148 people died from the virus in the latest daily numbers released.
A wave of New Jersey businesses may go against Gov. Phil Murphy's coronavirus-related order and reopen by June 1st. Murphy has given no timetable on when non-essential businesses can open their physical locations to customers. Thousands have joined a Facebook page called New Jersey Business Coalition Opening June First. Murphy says certain coronavirus-related health data must be met first before businesses get the green light to open.
The New Jersey State Supreme Court is being asked to intervene and get to the bottom of why more eligible inmates are not being sent home to protect them during the coronavirus pandemic. Advocates say prisons are warehousing infected people. Reports are more than 40 people have died in state custody due to the coronavirus and hundreds of inmates and corrections employees have tested positive. Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order back on April 10th setting the guidelines for inmates to be released temporarily during the health crisis.
After a six-day manhunt, a 23-year-old Connecticut man is in custody. Connecticut State Police Trooper Christine Jeltema says Peter Manfredonia was arrested Wednesday night in Hagerstown, Maryland. Jeltema says a key piece of evidence was recovered during the arrest. "A firearm was found in the proximity of the arrest, which is believed to be the weapon that was used in the Derby homicide," Jeltema says. Police say after killing two people in Connecticut, Manfredonia drove to New Jersey before taking an Uber to the Walmart in East Stroudsburg. He then allegedly stole an SUV from the Poconos, which was spotted in the Chambersburg area Wednesday, and used a ride-hailing service in Maryland. He was taken into custody without incident near a truck stop in Hagerstown.
Gov. Tom Wolf is throwing his support toward Joe Biden in the race for the White House. In a statement Wednesday, Wolf said he believes we need leadership in the White House that we can look to for calm and guidance. Wolf added he believes Biden would provide the strong leadership he says we need in the Oval Office.
A Berks County state lawmaker is suing the Diocese of Allentown after saying he was sexually abused as a boy. Rep. Mark Rozzi says he was abused by the Rev. Edward Graff in the 80s, adding the diocese knew Graff had a history of abusing children. The Diocese says it turned over all personnel files on accused priests and has acted swiftly.
For the first time since 1918, there will be no York Fair this year. The newly renamed York State Fair will not be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers say the decision was made after the Fair Board met Tuesday. Representatives say the decision was reached based on several factors, like Gov. Tom Wolf saying a packed Grandstand would create a problem. They say other major fairs have cancelled as well.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority made it unanimous with all members agreeing to increase the tolls. Tolls will be going up 36-percent on the turnpike and 27-percent on the Garden State Parkway. The increase will go into effect on September 13th. The South Jersey Transportation Authority also increased tolls for the Atlantic City Expressway.
The owner of the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City says he's creating an attraction to draw families to Atlantic City. Bart Blatstein says he is building a $100 million year-round indoor water park right next to his hotel. The Showboat does not offer gambling but operates only as a hotel. Blatstein plans to break ground in August.
Members of the Philadelphia Phillies organization are saying thanks to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The team delivered gift bags to Jefferson Hospital staff, doctors and nurses on Tuesday. The Phillie Phanatic pitched in some time to help make the delivery as well. The gift bags were filled with items that were set to be given away during the season at Citizens Bank Park.