The Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday reported 6,339 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 281,852. This is the highest daily increase of cases. There were 110 new deaths reported for a total of 9,465 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
New Jersey reported 4063 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, which is the fourth time in five days that more than 4000 cases were recorded. 31 deaths from coronavirus complications were also reported.
The East Penn and Saucon Valley school districts are temporarily switching to remote learning after Thanksgiving. East Penn officials say the goal for their switch is to avoid a surge on community transmission and better the chances of offering in-person classes in the future. The two-week closure will start after Thanksgiving break and students can return to a hybrid model of learning on December 14th. Saucon Valley School District will be closed from November 30th until December 4th with in-person classes scheduled to resume December 7th.
Another tradition has been claimed by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week it was announced the annual Thanksgiving Easton-Phillipsburg football game was being bumped up to this Saturday afternoon. Now comes word the game won't happen at all. The schools say due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey the 114th matchup in the storied rivalry won't be played. The Easton/P-Burg game has been played every year but two since 1905 and has been televised twice by ESPN.
The PIAA is giving schools the green light to move forward with winter sports practice beginning tomorrow. The announcement also set December 11th as the first day games can be played. They have reached out to Gov. Tom Wolf's office for clarification on the mask mandate that came down this week and how it will impact sports like swimming and wrestling.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) has canceled all winter sports following a vote from the league's Board of Directors. Last week the Board agreed to proceed with the intent to play a full regular and championship season for all spring sports in 2021. The PSAC includes Kutztown and East Stroudsburg universities.
Philadelphia is getting ready to implement new coronavirus restrictions. Beginning Friday, gyms and museums will be closed down. Indoor dining will be temporarily stopped and retail stores can operate with no more than five customers per 1000-square-feet. The city is also clamping down on outdoor gatherings as they say there should be no gatherings of more than 10 people. If Philadelphians can work from home, they should do just that. Those new guidelines begin tomorrow and last until the remainder of the year.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says there will be no in-person attendance for Punxsutawney Phil's annual weather prediction next year. Organizers say after consulting with health officials, the best decision was to plan for a virtual event next February.
Gov. Tom Wolf is calling for universities to test students for the coronavirus before they return home for Thanksgiving. The governor issued an advisory Wednesday for colleges to provide COVID-19 testing to students before fall and winter break. He's also urging colleges to stay in virtual instruction for the rest of the semester.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is encouraging colleges in New Jersey to offer students coronavirus esting before they head home for Thanksgiving. It's part of a regional effort to combat the spread of coronavirus as several residential students plan to travel across state borders. Murphy says any student who tests positive for the virus should quarantine on campus or make travel arrangements that minmize exposure to others.
A rally in Harrisburg Wednesday hoped to boost the hospitality industry. Supporters are calling for Pennsylvania lawmakers to give restaurants a piece of the remaining $1.3 billion left in CARES Act funding. Data collected by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association is showing that many restaurants could close next year if funding doesn't increase.
Last month, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board voted to waive 2021 license fees for bars and restaurants, some of the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. Wednesday, the LCB announced it is extending that same waiver to breweries, wineries and distilleries. The board says any applicant who has already paid their license fee for next year will receive a refund.
Some familiar personalities were named Wednesday as honorary members in an effort to benefit the Tree of Life synagogue. Tom Hanks, Billy Porter and Joanne Rogers, the wife of the late TV icon Fred Rogers, are lending their support to create a new worship space for Tree of Life at its Pittsburgh property. Tree of Life was the site of an anti-Semitic attack two years ago in which 11 people were murdered. Rabbi Jeffrey Myers says this new campaign will raise funds to renovate the building and transform a site of hate and tragedy into a site of hope, remembrance and education.
New Jersey is putting more than $150 million toward infrastructure projects. Gov. Phil Murphy says $161 million will be divided between 543 municipalities in order to fix roads and enhance bridge safety, among other advancements. New Jersey's Department of Transportation had to sift through 635 applications with a total of $342 million requested and evaluate their merits. Murphy says the funding further demonstrates his administration's dedication to building stronger, safer and more modern transportation.
More than two weeks after voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana, New Jersey lawmakers may be making progress. The Assembly is set to review a cannabis bill today. Legislation will decide how high to set the sales tax for legal weed and how to regulate the market. Lawmakers haven't been able to agree on certain sticking points, like limiting the amount of licenses that can be obtained to sell weed.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is gearing up to sign a bill into law, making it a crime to post the personal information of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers. He's expected to sign the bill Friday after the state Senate and Assembly both unanimously agreed to protect addresses and phone numbers. The legislation was a result of the shooting at U.S. District Judge Ester Salas' home, injuring her husband and killing her 20-year-old son. Salas advocates for the law to protect others on the bench, saying her son's death can't be in vain.