Pennsylvania's coronavirus count continues heading in the wrong direction. The State Department of Health Thursday tacked on 5488 new cases, pushing the overall total to 248,856. Another 49 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported, leaving the state's number at 9194. Over the past seven days, more than 331,000 tests have been administered with more than 25,000, or 7.7-percent, coming back positive.
Moravian College is locked down for the two weeks leading up to students heading home for Thanksgiving. The college decided to close all campus buildings, except residence halls after the number of students quarantining on campus jumped from six cases to 27. Since August, Moravian has had 32 positive cases of coronavirus among students both on and off campus.
Phillipsburg is declaring a state of emergency. Mayor Todd Tersigni says they want to ensure all proper health and safety protocols are being followed by government employees and residents. The declaration also allows the town to take extraordinary steps to regarding personnel policies, emergency purchasing and safety procedures to make sure protocols are strictly enforced for everyone's safety.
New Jersey is reporting another 3500 coronavirus cases. Gov. Phil Murphy is urging residents to double their efforts to curb the illness. "Let these number sink in. Unless we all recommit to the common sense measures that could us past the first, horrendous months of this pandemic, we are in for a long, dark winter before a vaccine becomes broadly available," Murphy says. New Jersey says more than 1800 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, with 360 in intensive care and 117 of them on ventilators.
New Jersey's governor is speaking in blunt terms when it comes to wearing masks and general 'pandemic fatigue.' Phil Murphy was asked about the notion that masks have become cultural or political, with varying opinions concerning their effectiveness. Murphy responded it's erally uncomfortable and annoying "when you die" after a reporter mentioned some find masks uncomfortable.
New Jersey is getting a new system to quickly test for the coronavirus. Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey will be one of the first to receive a rapid molecular test developed by CUE Health. Murphy explains the test has proven to be 99-percent accurate while producing results in 20 minutes. Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says the test is administered through a nasal swab and has a very low rate of giving false positive results.
States surrounding New Jersey are joining the Garden State's effort to combat coronavirus infections among kids. Starting tomorrow, seven states will also ban interstate competitions for public and private schools.
A Bethlehem man already behind bars on robbery and assault charges is now accused of burglarizing an Allentown apartment this summer. George Hernandez allegedly broke into an apartment in the 400 block of North 10th Street on August 11th. He had apparently done some baby sitting at that address before the break-in and had a key to the apartment. Hernandez is one of three people charged in connection with an Oct. 4 robbery and assault in Bethlehem Township.
The death of a student at a Kutztown University residence hall is being investigated. The student died at Dixon Hall on Kutztown's campus. Kutztown University police, Pennsylvania State Police and the Berks County district attorney were at the scene handling the investigation. While the campus was not locked down students have been asked to avoid the investigation area. The university said counseling services will be available for any students who need assistance Friday morning.
Attorneys are looking to launch an insanity plea for Lisa Snyder, the Berks County mother accused of killing her two children. The motion was filed Thursday and discusses Snyder's history with mental disorders. The claim is Snyder was suffering from depressive and borderline personality disorders when she hanged her 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter inside their Albany Township home in September 2019. Snyder will be back in court at the beginning of next year.
74-percent of the Lehigh Valley’s registered voters cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election. That is the highest rate in at least 20 years. The election also had more registered voters and more total ballots cast locally than any presidential race in the last two decades. This year’s turnout includes both in-person voting and mail-in ballots.
The state Department of State, which oversees elections, said Tuesday evening that counties had received and counted 27,650 of the 37,239 military and overseas citizens absentee ballots that were ordered. About 10,000 mail-in ballots were received in the three days after polls closed and counties issued about 94,000 provisional ballots to voters.
President Trump's campaign won one of its lawsuits Thursday when a Pennsylvania judge ordered counties to exclude mail-in or absentee ballots for which the voter didn't provide valid identification within six days of last Tuesday's election. White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany was on Fox News and said it's a good win. "It's a big victory for the Trump campaign. She was rebuked by a court saying no, you must look into the legislature. That's what Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution requires," McEnany says. The judge ruled Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar lacked the authority to extend the six day ID grace period by another three days. Several thousand ballots may be invalidated by the injuction.
Berks County residents are apparently not going to be paying more county taxes next year. A brief preview of the 2021 Berks County budget was given Thursday at the commissioner's meeting. An official presentation will be given during next Thursday's meeting.
Gov. Tom Wolf is again extending the state's opioid disaster declaration. Wolf originally signed the declaration in January 2018 and has renewed it 12 times. The move allows Pennsylvania to loosen regulations and work outside of typical procedures to expedite aid and other initiatives to help those suffering with opioid use disorder.
St. Sen. Kim Ward is now the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader. Elected by Senate Republicans Thursday, Ward becomes the first woman to hold the title of Majority Leader in the Senate or House of Representatives. The 64-year-old Ward has been a state senator since 2009, representing Westmoreland County.
Giant is donating a record number of turkeys this season. The grocer will give 10,000 turkeys to foodbanks in Pennsylvania and three other states this month. The chain will also have team members volunteer at ten food banks to provide hunger relief boxes to families in need.
Weis Markets is making an $800,000 donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America. The chain presented the check to the group that supports disabled servicemen and women Thursday. The money comes from both the grocer and those shoppers who chose to round up their total at checkout.
A new ice cream is coming to stores in southeastern Pennsylvania. The PA Dairymen's Association revealed their new ice cream called Cowabunga Thursday. The ice cream comes in vanilla or chocolate and is inspired by the Pennsylvania Farm Show milkshake. All ice cream sales will support agriculture, education, farming and hunger prevention programs.
New Jersey is moving ahead with legislation to legalize marijuana. Voters have approved legalizing recreational marijuana for adults and lawmakers are left to work out the details. Thursday, lawmakers advanced a bill that would allow carrying six ounces of weed and make distributing one ounce a civil penalty. Meanwhile, officials are still figuring out what the tax rate for legal marijuana should be.