While both Pennsylvania senators voted in favor of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package, neither sounded overly enthusiastic about it. "There's a lot I don't like in this package, but the good outweighs the bad in my view," says Republican Pat Toomey. He says the bill is necessary to stimulate an economy harmed by the pandemic. Democrat Bob Casey said the package is nothing more than a band aid. "The economic trauma that is here now will be with us for a good while and I think warrant a lot of attention and a lot of policy response," Casey said. The Senate approved the package in a 92-6 vote.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health added more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases across the state. Monday's announcement covers two days' worth of cases. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania now stands at 563,589 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says vaccinating health care workers against the coronavirus is kicking into high gear. "Since the first doses of the vaccine arrived here in Pennsylvania one week ago, 17,700 health care workers have received their first dose," Levine says. Those numbers are expected to soar this week. Levine says more than 30,000 additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive this week and the first of 198,000 Moderna's vaccines will as well.
New Jersey officials say it's going to take a little bit longer to get COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care facilities. Gov. Phil Murphy and health officials say the process was supposed to start Monday for those in nursing homes, but instead will start next Monday. The Department of Health narrowly missed a deadline to send information to the federal government, causing the delay.
New Jersey is still adding COVID-19 contact tracers throughout the state. Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy reported 187 new contact tracers are on the ground, with just shy of 3500 tracers across the Garden State. Murphy says people are still not cooperating with contact tracers and he says officials are trying to understand why that's the case.
New Jersey is once again extending its public health emergency. The measure was first put in place on March 9th and has since been extended ten times. The move came Monday, the same day the state reported 3186 cases and 29 deaths connected to the virus.
Gov. Phil Murphy is urging New Jerseyans to stay in their bubble this Christmas. He says large celebrations could lead to a spike in new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations. He referred to indicators during the two weeks following Thanksgiving, when the state was averaging roughly 4000 new cases a day. Murphy says during the first three weeks of December, the state averaged 4800 new cases per day, a 20-percent increase.
New Jersey is putting several upcoming local elections on hold. Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order which postpones February's fire district elections, special school elections in March and elections meant to fill other vacancies to April 20th, 2021. Murphy says the order will allow local election officials to reserve time and resources while providing enough time to prepare for the elections. There's no word yet on whether these elections will be conducted through all main-in ballots, in-person voting or a blend of the two.
Former Penn State star running back Ki-Jana Carter is being sued over the production of surgical masks. Carter's ByoGlobe LLC is accused of taking $2.4 million from Penn State Health without providing a single mask. The suit claims Carter told Penn State Health his company would provide 400,000 masks made by 3M in China and deliver them by April 15th. The $935,000 sought from ByoGlobe and from Carter personally represents the outstanding amount of the refund it is due, according to Penn State Health.
The life of a convicted killer has been spared. Last night, the jury foreperson told a Northampton County judge the jury would not be able to come to a unanimous decision on whether Jacob Holmes Jr. should end up on death row. The Easton man was convicted last week for the 2009 killing of Miguel Aponte at the Easton Cafe. Investigators say it was a revenge killing in retaliation for a 2006 incident that left Holmes wounded and a friend dead. The deadlocked jury means Holmes will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Citing big crowds and the potential of not having enough volunteers to accommodate those crowds, Allentown says Lights in the Parkway will be closing for the season Thursday night. Lights in the Parkway was originally supposed to remain open through Sunday night.
Interim Senate President Jake Corman says he will introduce a resolution to review the 2020 general election. Corman says every state senator heard from constituents about the election and far too many are questioning the validity of their votes. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says the general election went off freely, fairly and securely.
A Lancaster County man accused of kidnapping an Amish teenager is now being charged with her murder. 34-year-old Justo Smoker was charged Monday with the murder of 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos. The Lancaster County DA's office says the state police crime lab found Smoker's DNA on the girl's stockings, which were buried in the ground. Stoltzfoos' body still has not been found. She was last seen on June 22nd.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene has died. The Pro Football Hall of Fame member was a five-time Pro Bowler and is third on the all-time sack list. Greene played with the Steelers, Rams, Panthers and 49ers. Kevin Greene was 58.
Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts will be the starter for the Eagles this Sunday. Head coach Doug Pederson made it official Monday. Hurts has a 1-1 record in the two games he has started. The Eagles host Dallas this Sunday.
Three Philadelphia Eagles have all been voted to the Pro Bowl. Center Jason Kelce and defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham were both chosen. The game itself has been cancelled thanks to the pandemic, but it will be played virtually on Madden NFL 21.