The Pennsylvania Department of Health Monday added 9675 new COVID-19 cases over a two-day period, bringing the number of cases to 269,613 since the pandemic began. Over the same two-day span, the state reports 51 new coronavirus-related deaths. That leaves the state's total at 9325.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has the latest hospitalization numbers in the coronavirus pandemic. "We are reporting 2374 individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19. 510 of the individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 are in an intensive care unit. 258 of the individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 are on a ventilator," Levine says. Levine says the number of COVID-related hospitalizations has gone up by about 650 in the past week. Despite that, Levine says returning to the red, yellow, green color-coded coronavirus restrictions isn't in the works and dismissed rumors the state plans to close non-essential businesses.
Emmaus High School will not be returning to its hybrid model of learning until December. The school will remain closed through the Thanksgiving holiday due to several new cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Students will follow remote instruction until the school returns to its hybrid plan on December 1st.
Lehigh Career & Technical Institute will close for a week after four positive COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last 14 days. LCTI plans on reopening on November 23rd. LCTI closed for a week last month after three staff members tested positive for coronavirus.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is tightening restrictions as coronavirus numbers continue to swell in the Garden State. He placing new limits on indoor gatherings to just ten people, down from 25. "It's going to get worse. We're pleading with people to remember their personal responsibility, especially when they're in private settings," Murphy says. Murphy is also limiting outdoor gatherings to 150 people, down from 500.
New Jersey health officials are issuing guidelines this holiday season when it comes to those living in long-term care facilities. Gov. Phil Murphy's office is strongly recommending families keep residents in facilities this holiday season, rather than taking them out for holiday celebrations or gatherings. Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says small family gatherings are a significant driver of increased coronavirus cases, which means if residents do leave their facilities they're going to have to quarantine for two weeks when they return. Officials are also suggesting care facilities prepare for socially distanced visits or increased communications, like video chats, this time of year.
Small businesses across New Jersey can still save money when buying personal protective equipment while navigating the coronavirus pandemic. Phase two of a program run by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority is underway, offering an extra 25-percent off for PPE purchases made through an approved online retailer. The discount stands until November 30th, granting relief to businesses buying masks, gowns and shoe covers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
New Jersey's Supreme Court is suspending in-person trials in response to increasing coronavirus infections. The court issued an order Monday, allowing in-person grand jury trials to go virtual. Most court cases have been held virtually but as cases were declining some in-person sessions were starting to resume, like limited proceedings and jury trials. Only about a dozen jury trial have been held in person since September.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced officials in Philadelphia to clamp down on things. Beginning Friday, there will be no more gyms and museums open and indoor dining will be prohibited. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than ten people and up to 2000 in a very large space. Retail stores can open but with no more than five customers per 1000-square-feet. People are also being urged to work from home if they can do so. All of the new guidelines go into effect on Friday and will run through at least the end of the year.
Philadelphia Eagles home games will no longer include fans for the remainder of the season. Philadelphia city officials announced new restrictions Monday on gatherings in the city. Last month local guidelines were loosened to allow about 7500 fans for home games.
Residents near the Berks-Lehigh county border are still cleaning up damage after extremely strong winds Sunday night. A large shed and smaller storage shed in Maxatawny Township were almost completely leveled by winds Sunday night. The National Weather Service determined Monday that the damage was caused by straight-line winds and not a tornado. Those winds reached an estimated 80-miles-per-hour. No injuries have been reported.
An Easton man is dead after succumbing to injuries suffered when he was run over by his own vehicle two weeks ago. Police say on November 3rd Daniel Lopes allegedly failed to put his vehicle in park in the 400 block of South Elder Street, then the vehicle began to roll down the hill, striking Lopez and running him over. He died Saturday. His death has been ruled an accident.
State legislators are looking to wrap up their annual budget by the end of the month. The budget, which was delayed from its typical end-of-fiscal year negotiation window, is nearing the end of its stopgap budget that was passed back in June. Lawmakers funded most agencies at five-twelfths of their normal support to better understand the long term effects of the pandemic on the commonwealth.
The state Senate isn't supporting Gov. Tom Wolf's request to give Pennsylvania's Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm another term in the role. In a 32-18 vote, the Senate opposed Wolf's request to give her another six-year term. Senate Republicans say they want an appointee to hold a law degree. Storm has served in that role since former Gov. Tom Corbett nominated her for the job in 2013.
A bill is awaiting New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's signature to make it a crime to post the personal information of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers. The state Senate and Assembly unanimously passed a bill Monday, which would make it illegal to post addresses and phone numbers. The move comes in the wake of the fatal shooting at U.S. District Judge Ester Salas' home, injuring her husband and killing her 20-year-old son. Salas says her son's death can't be in vain and advocated for lawmakers to protect those on the bench.