There were 967 more cases of coronavirus reported Monday. The report includes new cases for each day of the weekend and brings the Commonwealth's overall total to 150,812 since the pandemic began. 48 new coronavirus-related deaths were added Monday, pushing that number to 8004.
The governor and health department are expected to announce a new app designed to alert users if they were exposed to COVID-19 today. The mobile app is called COVID Alert PA. It's said to use Bluetooth technology to notify users of their COVID-19 exposure without compromising their identity or location. The app will also allow users to communicate with the health department to discuss symptoms if they have any.
As promised, Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill intended to allow individual school districts to decide whether to hold sporting events and to set attendance limits amid the pandemic. It's a bill that passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate, prompting the governor to say those voting for it are kidding themselves. "I'm always amazed at politicians thinking that they can wave a magic wand and suspend reality," Wolf said. A reality, the governor says, is the virus it out to get us. Wolf says the health department should maintain power to make decisions limiting the spread of coronavirus. The House approved the bill in a 155-47 vote and the Senate voted 39-11 in favor of it. A veto override vote is considered likely.
Gov. Tom Wolf is proud of businesses stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that businesses have increased their face masks, cleaning supplies and medical equipment for employees. Wolf says the state has risen to the occasion to increase its inventory on personal protective equipment. As of Monday, there have been more than 150,000 total cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
A school in the Northwestern Lehigh School District is reopening for in-person classed today after closing Monday due to three individuals from the school testing positive for COVID-19. Classes at Weisenberg Elementary School were all online Monday as the school underwent deep cleaning and disinfection. District officials say one of the people who tested positive was last in the school last Tuesday, another last Thursday and the third on Friday. They did not disclose whether the individuals were students or staff.
Christkindlmarkt will happen this year, but there will be quite a few changes. The Christmas tradition will be completely outdoors this year instead of inside heated tents and it will open October 8th, about a month-and-a-half earlier than usual. It'll wrap up on November 29th. The festival will still be held at the SteelStacks campus, with artisans, artists, food and music. This year, tickets must be purchased in advance. Those tickets, at least for the first two weekends, will go on sale Friday morning at 10 o'clock.
There's another annual tradition claimed by the pandemic. The 99th edition of the Bethlehem Halloween parade has been canceled, but will still happen virtually. Thanks to a partnership between the city and the Bethlehema Area School District the parade will be shown at 2pm on October 25th on RCN, Service Electric and the school district's TV channel. Anyone wishing to participate needs to submit videos shorter than one minute by noon on October 16th.
Northampton County officials say 81-year-old Edgar Himel died Sunday afternoon. Himel allegedly shot his wife to death in July 2019 and then led authorities on a cross-country manhunt before finally being arrested in Colorado a week-and-a-half after the death of Penny VanTassel-Himel. Investigators say Himel told them he snapped during an argument with his wife and then shot her inside their Palmer Township home. He was supposed to go to trial in January.
A former Lehigh County judge has died. Alan Black died Monday at the age of 81. Black was elected judge in 1997 and held that job until retiring as Lehigh County President Judge in January 2008.
Republicans in the Senate are preparing to deal with whoever President Trump nominates to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Democrats, like Pennsylvania's Bob Casey, say the GOP should remember when they refused to take up President Obama's choice in 2016, saying it should be delayed because it was an election year. "I think most Americans want to have a say in this and I think because we have a national election for president and for the United States Senate, this should be a nomination to be considered when you have a new president," Casey said. President Trump says his choice to replace Ginsburg will likely be announced either Friday or Saturday.
The Pennsylvania Lottery is warning of a scam that's apparently originating in Jamaica. Someone with a Caribbean accent is reportedly called residents saying they won the Mega Millions or another prize. Lottery officials say that's not true and they only contact the winners of a Second-Chance Drawing or to collect their winning story.
New Jersey's State Assembly is meeting later today to discuss the state's budget and related bills. Right now, Gov. Phil Murphy is proposing a $32.7 billion spending plan. The legislature has already agreed to raise taxes on high income earners, which is expected to help the state's financial situation. Both houses are set to vote Thursday.
Motor Vehicle Centers across New Jersey are starting senior hours today. That means drivers ages 65 and up will get special service at select MVC locations on Tuesdays and Thursdays between two-and-four pm. Officials say seniors don't need to make individual appointments, instead they can show up to facilities at 2pm to register and title new and used car purchases. It's part of New Jersey's effort to curtail outrageously long lines at several MVC locations.
New Jersey companies are facing thousands-of-dollars in fines for price gouging and false advertisement during the coronavirus pandemic. Officials say the pandemic has triggered an unprecedented number of complaints. Dozens of companies have reportedly racked up more than $30,000 combined in fines. State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released a statement saying many businesses are following the law, but those that aren't will face penalties.
A Warren County drag racing facility is facing fines for violating COVID-19 protocols. Officers reportedly showed up to a crowd of at least 1000 people gathered at the Island Dragway in Independence Township over the weekend. New Jersey State Police say the officers were responding to traffic near the dragway and realized the amount of people. Officials say the owner was cited for violating New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order banning large gatherings.
A doctor Monday confirmed that ex-Whitehall High and Penn State star Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Sunday's game in Chicago. New York Giants head coach Joe Judge says Barkley's loss is big. "Saquon's a tremendous player but we have even more respect for him as a person. I personally hate it for this guy as hard as he's worked and as much impact he has on this team. I know our team has similar feelings as well," Judge says. Barkley will miss the remainder of the season.