Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to be his assistant health secretary. In a release, Biden says, "Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic." Sen. Bob Casey says "As Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine is exactly the kind of crisis-tested leader our Nation needs in the position of Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services during this difficult time for our Nation." Governor Tom Wolf commended Levine’s nomination, saying “Dr. Levine is a highly skilled and valued member of my administration and she will be greatly missed. I couldn’t be prouder of the tireless work she’s done to serve Pennsylvanians and protect the public health.”
Gov. Tom Wolf expects to name a replacement for outgoing Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. Levine has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to be assistant health secretary. The governor's office says an announcement on a replacement could come as soon as later this week.
COVID-19 vaccines are going to be made available for more Pennsylvanians. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents who are 65 and older will now be eligible to receive the vaccine. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 who suffer from a range of health conditions will also be able to get the vaccine. The health department is encouraging people to take a quiz on its website to determine if they are eligible for a vaccination or not.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Tuesday confirmed 5,341 additional positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 777,186. There are 4,582 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 950 patients are in the intensive care unit. There were 77 new coronavirus-related deaths reported for a total of 19,467 deaths attributed to COVID-19. The number of vaccinations administered in Pennsylvania has now grown to 477,929.
New Jersey is planning to launch a call center for residents looking to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says the phone line is in its final steps and may be ready to take calls as early as next week. She says the line will offer English and Spanish speaking options that will walk residents through scheduling appointments as they become eligible. The phone number will be (855) 568-0545.
Easton's mayor wants Easton's city hall to be off limits to guns. "It's so nerve wracking to see what happened to the U.S. Capitol building and to know that we're wide open," says Sal Panto. He has written to state lawmakers asking them to change state law which prohibits individual municipalities from enacting their own gun laws on where the weapons are and are not allowed. The mayor says he owns guns and is not anti-gun, but wants what he calls common-sense laws that will keep people safer.
Mistaken identity ends up leaving four people shot and at least five people facing charges in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County. Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Chris Wagner says the community can breath easy now after the Monday evening violence. "We do not feel that the community is in any further danger. We believe that we have all the suspects in custody at this time," Wagner says. It all transpired along the Route 196 corridor after five people inside a Volvo spotted a Mercedes leaving A Pocono Country Place development. The five thought the occupants of that vehicle included somebody they have previous trouble with. A chase ensued during which gunshots were fired from both cars. One person in the chasing car was hit in the head. The chase led to a home the accused believed to be associated with their target. Two people inside were shot. The incident then led to another home where an occupant inside, who also had nothing to do with the group, was also shot. While Wagner believes everybody involved is accounted for, the investigation continues.
One man is dead and a woman injured after a shooting in Monroe County Tuesday. Police were called to a home on Paradise Trail in Stroud Township around 5:30 yesterday afternoon and that's when they found the homeowner, along with the man and woman who had been shot. The man was pronounced dead at the scene while the woman, who was shot in the stomach, was taken to the hospital. Her condition has not been released. No arrests have been made yet but police are saying there's no threat to the community.
A four-legged member of the Allentown Police Department has died. K9 Django, who served for ten years assisting with patrol duties and narcotics investigations, died Monday. He was two years old when he joined the Allentown Police Department along with his handler, Officer Jonathan Smith. Django received numerous awards and recognition throughout his career, including two achievement commendations.
The Uni-Mart on Route 611 in Bartonsville, Monroe County, sold a $2 million winning Powerball ticket for Saturday night's drawing. That ticket matched all five white balls drawn, but didn't match the red Powerball. The convenience store earns a $10,000 bonus for selling that ticket. The holder of that ticket has one year from the drawing to claim their prize.
The Harrisburg-area woman accused of taking a laptop belonging to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now facing theft charges. Riley Williams had previously been charged with unlawful entry into the U.S. Capitol and other charges for her role in the events of January 6th. The 22-year-old remains in Dauphin County Prison ahead of a bail hearing tomorrow.
Two chatroom messages believed to belong to the Harrisburg-area woman accused of taking a laptop belonging to Nancy Pelosi have surfaced. The messages believed to be from 22-year-old Riley Williams indicated she stole from the House Speaker and that she didn't care if she was killed for taking Pelosi's hard drives.
Timothy DeFoor in Pennsylvania's new auditor general. He took the oath of office Tuesday afternoon and says he knows why he was elected. "I will aggressively go after fraud, waste and abuse to ensure state government lives within its means and that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely," DeFoor says. DeFoor defeated Nina Ahmad in the November election. The Republican becomes the first black to hold a row office in Pennsylvania. Also taking their oaths of office Tuesday were new treasurer Stacy Garrity and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has begun a second term.