Pennsylvania's Department of Health added 7175 new cases of coronavirus to the state's total on Thursday, pushing that number to 748,564. 313 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported, leaving the state's total at 18,742. There are currently 5069 people hospitalized with COVID-19. 1035 of them are in the intensive care unit.
Pennsylvania health officials say as of Wednesday, 373,529 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered. 269,279 people have received one of two needed doses. 52,125 have received each dose and are now considered to be fully covered.
Gov. Tom Wolf says he wants to help small businesses harmed by the pandemic. He says last month he approved using $145 million to do just that but says Republicans in the state House have done nothing on the issue. "Although the money is available, and has been available for three weeks, Republican leaders in the General Assembly have not made any move to get that money out of the General Fund and into the hands of businesses that so desperately need it," Wolf says. A spokesperson for the House GOP says the governor has not reached out to discuss the allocation with them, but they are open to short-term ideas and long-term solutions.
Gov. Tom Wolf has approved a temporary waiver allowing pharmacists licensed by the state to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines without a doctor's order when vaccines are available to the general public. This waiver applies only to COVID-19 vaccines for the duration of Wolf's disaster emergency declaration, plus 90 days.
The Allentown School District is choosing to stick with the virtual learning model for the third quarter of the school year. Superintendent Thomas Parker says they're working to ensure all their students, staff and family members are as safe as possible and it was the right decision for the district. He says many students in the district live with more individuals in the household, making social distancing harder to implement. Parker says the district will continue to monitor the situation and may decide to transition back to a hybrid model when the third quarter ends.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in talks with Allegheny Health Network to turn PNC Park into a mass COVID-19 vaccination site. Allgeheny Health Network officials say they're preparing to use the stadium once COVID-19 vaccinations become more available to the public this year. A Pirates spokesperson says the team has been eager and ready to meet the city's needs during the pandemic.
New Jersey is reporting nearly 6000 additional coronavirus cases as vaccination efforts ramp up across the state. Thursday, the state reported 5967 positive cases and confirmed 94 additional deaths.
A retired Delaware County firefighter is being accused of tossing a fire extinguisher and injuring three people during the riot on Capitol Hill last week. Robert Sanford faces three felony charges for allegedly assaulting officers at the U.S. Capitol. Investigators say Sanford was seen throwing a fire extinguisher at Capitol police officers on multiple videos and photos posted on social media. Sanford was arraigned in federal court in Allentown Thursday and is currently in Lehigh County Jail. Sanford could get 20 years in prison if he's found guilty.
Gov. Tom Wolf says more than 400 Pennsylvania National Guard members have been deployed across the state to tighten security amid online threats of violence across all 50 states. The governor says he will not allow what happened at the U.S. Capitol to happen here. More than 1000 Pennsylvania National Guard troops have been sent to Washington DC to provide security at the Capitol during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
The Pennsylvania Capitol Police Superintendent says what happened at the U.S. Capitol last week will not happen in Harrisburg. "We have increased our visibility with members of our Special Response Team now patrolling the Capitol ground and in their full gear. These are highly trained individuals who specialize in crisis response situations, tense situation de-escalation and other special response tactics," says Joe Jacob, who adds there are no specific threats to the Capitol complex at this time.
Harrisburg's Capitol Complex is going to be closing for two days next week. The Pennsylvania Office of Administration says the complex will be closed January 19th and 20th. The decision is being made out of caution because of the riots at the U.S. Capitol last week. Employees who work in-person at the complext are being advised to stay at home during the closure.
You can now own a piece of the past as the online auction for Roadside America has begun. The auction is being hosted by the Renaissance Auction Group and started Wednesday. More than 700 individual pieces that include model buildings and other miniature displays are being put up in the public auction. Trains will be sold in a different auction that will be held later this year. Those interested in making bids are being invited to visit the Renaissance Auction Group's website.
United States Attorney William McSwain says he'll be stepping down as chief federal law enforcement officer in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Resignations like this are considered a normal part of the transition from one administration to another.
D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. says it is taking the first step in its westward expansion with the distribution of its beers in Texas later this year. Yuengling said it expects its beer to hit retail locations in Texas in the fall.