Pennsylvania's Department of Health has added another 1276 COVID-19 cases across the commonwealth. That brings the number of confirmed cases across Pennsylvania to 175,922 since the pandemic began. The death toll related to COVID-19 complications increased by 27 Wednesday, leaving the state's overall total at 8411.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says it's been nine straight days with more than 1000 coronavirus cases reported in the state. "With the data that we have just reported, we believe that we are at the start of the fall resurgence," Levine says. Levine says hospitalization rates due to the coronavirus have nearly doubled recently, however she says they're still well below levels seen early in the pandemic. Despite those numbers, Levine says there are no plans at this time to reinstate stay at home orders or business restrictions.
The Gracedale Nursing home in Upper Nazareth Township has been closed to visitors after a resident and two employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Gracedale has had 246 residents and 59 employees test positive for the virus. 76 of Gracedale's residents have died from the virus. Meanwhile, the Cedarbrook nursing homes in South Whitehall Township and Fountain Hill remain closed after both employees and residents there tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
More than 2.6 million registered voters have applied for a mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania. As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million are registered Democrats and about 641,000 are registered Republicans. Another 284,000 ballots were requested by independent or third party voters. All but about 70,000 of those ballots have been mailed to voters and of all the ballots mailed out, more than 437,000 have been returned by voters. Democrats also dominate in that category, with 338,000 ballots returned, versus 64,000 by Republicans.
Voters in New Jersey are getting a head start on voting. Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Wednesday "over 1,000,000 New Jerseyans have already cast their ballots. Vote-by-mail is a win for democracy." In addition, many people are delivering their ballots in person to the New Jersey Election Board, because they don't trust the mail or secure drop boxes. Officials insist those drop boxes are safe and are monitored by cameras.
The Northbound side of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed for the morning rush hour this morning because of an accident. That closure ran from the Quakertown to the Lehigh Valley exits. The accident involved a pedestrian who was hit by multiple vehicles.
A motorcyclist is dead after a crash in Allentown. It happened late Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of South 4th Street and Mountain Road. The Lehigh County coroner's office identifies the victim as 53-year-old Terry Orendach of Salisbury Township. It's still unclear what caused the crash, but investigators say the motorcycle collided with another vehicle.
A Bethlehem Township man is dead after an accident with a gun. 26-year-old David Spenzierato died Wednesday evening, six days after accidentally shooting himself with a handgun. Police are still investigating. The coroner's office is ruling the death accidental.
Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams says a Lancaster police officer was justified in shooting a knife-wielding man. Adams says body cam footage showed the officer ran first as he was being charged by 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz on September 13th, before he turned and fired, killing Munoz. Police were responding to a domestic disturbance. No charges will be filed against the officer. The death sparked protests last month.
The Pennsylvania System of Higher Education is considering the idea of combining several universities so they can remain financially sustainable without having to borrow money. This idea would combine Clarion with California, Edinboro with Slippery Rock and Lock Haven with Mansfield. They would all operate under one administrative team, with one budget and one faculty. Though the universities would be combined through this plan, they would maintain their campus identity. The next step to get this idea rolling is for a plan to be developed and presented to the board around April of next year.
PennDOT is putting the call out now to find winter season help. They have 98 temporary positions and right now only half are filled. PennDOT says those who take on the work will have the opportunity to grow with the department.
Product manufacturer Kimberly-Clark is announcing a recall on their Cottonelle Flushable Wipes. The company says that some packages may contain a bacteria that could cause an infection in some users. For most people, the bacteria wouldn't likely be an issue on its own, but it could pose a risk to people with compromised immune systems. The recall covers packages of Cottonelle Flushable Wipes and the GentlePlus Flushable Wipes produced between February 7th and September 14th of 2020. More information is available on the product's website.
President Trump is lashing out at New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. The President says the senator slammed him rather than spending his time questioning Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Sen. Booker asked the nominee if she condemned white supremacy, thanking her when she said "yes" and saying he wished the President would as well. The President took to Twitter and made comments at a rally, calling Booker a failed presidential candidate as well as an empty suit.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is ordering state agencies to re-evaluate how they handle bias and harassment. This comes about a week after the state released a report showing bias crimes were skyrocketing throughout the state. The study suggests students and teachers need anti-bias training, but that would require legislation. Murphy is looking to implement some changes immediately like offering anti-bias training in juvenile prisons and making it easier to report bias crimes.
New Jersey is working to help immigrants who might be facing deportation or looking for employment. The newly signed budget allocates $6.1 million for the Office of New Americans, which will help immigrants dealing with deportation pay for legal costs. Part of the money is also supposed to help immigrants enter the local workforce. Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement Wednesday, saying New Jersey's greatest strength lies in its diversity and promising to protect immigrant communities.
New Jersey's annual bear hunt is in its fourth day. The state's Division of Fish and Wildfire says 135 bears have been taken as of Tuesday. The six-day hunt is restricted to eight counties.