COVID-19 cases continue to surge. Pennsylvania added more than 4700 new cases to the total Wednesday, pushing that overall number to 243,368 since the pandemic began. 59 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported Wednesday. That number now sits at 9145. There are currently 1948 COVID patients in Pennsylvania hospitals, with 417 of them in intensive care.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is warning New Jerseyans to take the coronavirus seriously. Cases have been sporadically rising for the past week as Murphy has repeatedly mentioned entering a second wave of the pandemic. The state reported 3078 new cases Wednesday and 15 deaths. The transmission rate rose to 1.27.
Pennsylvania's biggest teachers' union is urging all school districts to switch to virtual learning when COVID-19 infection rates reach critical levels. Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey says state guidelines recommend schools in critical transmission rate counties go fully remote to slow the spread of the virus and keep staff, families and students safe. About 38 of the state's 67 counties are experiencing a substantial level of community spread, including Lehigh and Northampton counties. Several Lehigh Valley school districts have already issued temporary closures due to COVID-19 cases.
Kutztown University will not be competing in fall or winter sports this season. The university announced Wednesday they are opting out of both fall and winter sports after a decision made by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference to cancel its entire fall sports schedule. The PSAC will be voting on the future of the conference's winter sports season next week.
New Jersey residents are facing new coronavirus restrictions today. That means bars will not be able to seat patrons at all and restaurants will hav eto clos indoor dining between 10pm and 5am each day. The new rule doesn't ban outdoor dining and takeout past the curfew and tables are allowed to be closer than six feet apart as long as dividers are put in place. Sporting events are prohibited unless they're on the college level.
One of New Jersey's top officials is in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal took a rapid coronavirus test after coming in contact with a staffer who tested positive for the virus. A spokesperson for the officials say Grewal's first coronavirus test came back positive, but a follow up test returned negative. Grewal is currently asymptomatic while he self-isolates and contact tracing is reportedly underway.
New Jersey is putting more money towards small businesses that are trying to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Phil Murphy is allotting an additional $60 million in CARES Act funding to ensure all 22,000 businesses will get the aid they applied for. That's on top of the state's original plan to pu $70 million into the program, with Murphy saying replenishing the fund will help businesses emerge stronger than ever. On average, each business has been granted about $3000.
Northampton County Republican Chairwoman Lee Snover is challenging at least 400 provisional ballots that still need to be counted. Snover is involved in legal filings for the Trump campaign, which claims voter fraud in the election. Attorney for the Northampton County Democratic Party, Gary Asteak, says the move is an attempt to manipulate the system and suppress the vote. There are about 2700 provisional ballots and even with the challenge, Asteak says the outcome of the election will not change.
It's been reported that an Erie postal worker has taken back claims he saw fellow postal workers tinkering with ballots that were mailed too late to be counted. That postal worker, Richard Hopkins, says he didn't recant anything. "I would like the Washington Post to recant this wonderful little article they decided to throw out there," Hopkins said in a video he posted. President Trump has called Hopkins a 'brave patriot.'
New Jersey is still counting mail-in ballots even though most news outlets have already called the presidential election in favor of Joe Biden. Several local elections for board of education and council hinge on the ballots that have yet to be counted. Counters have their work cut out for them since more than 4.4 million New Jerseyans voted this election, which is record voter turnout. Some election clerks say the final results will be in close to Thanksgiving Day since the state could accept ballots up until Tuesday.
A 31-year-old man is now the third person arrested for a September murder in Wilson. Elijah Ford, of Freemansburg, was arrested Wednesday in North Carolina for his role in the September 25th killing of Nikal Jones and wounding of a second person. Also charged are 30-year-old Aquasay Harris and 19-year-old Ca'mel Douglas.