Pennsylvania's Department of Health added 2564 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, pushing the statewide total to 935,834. 74 new coronavirus-related deaths were also added to the state's overall total, which is now 24,100. Right now, 1715 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 366 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Pennsylvania teachers are apparently going to be able to get the COVID-19 vaccination sooner than expected. Gov. Tom Wolf says the state's COVID-19 vaccine task force is continuing to develop its rollout plan to include teachers soon. An offical announcement is expected to be made later today. The decision to vaccinate teachers sooner than expected follows the FDA's approval of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health says the state continues to make strides in getting the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of those eligible to receive it. "Local vaccine providers have administered 2,483,631 doses of vaccine," says the department's Lindsey Mauldin. She says another 1.2 million doses have been allocated through March 6th. Pennsylvania's vaccination numbers don't include Philadelphia, which works directly with the federal government.
Pennsylvania businesses in the hospitality industry are going to share about $145 million in relief funding. Gov. Tom Wolf, who imposed the restrictions on the industry last year, says those businesses need it. "For many businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, this has been really, really tough and their bottom line has been hurt as much, if not more than, any other business," the governor says. The $145 million will be spread across all 67 Pennsylvania counties in grants to be awarded in $5000 increments up to a maximum of $50,000. Those businesses have until March 15th to sign up for the grant money.
New Jersey has administered more than 2.1-million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. According to Gov. Phil Murphy, more than 761,000 New Jerseyans are fully vaccinated after having received both doses.
The pandemic may lead to beach fees in some of New Jersey's beach towns. Some towns in Cape May are considering beach passes, citing the cost of beach maintenance and financial hardship. Wildwood is considering the move, saying visitors wouldn't have to reach into their pockets until next summer but, if approved, Upper Township could start implementing the fees this summer. Several beaches, including Ocean City, Sea Isle and Stone Harbor already charge.
Skiers are enjoying a longer-than-typical ski season. Blue Mountain Resort near Palmerton says the resort may see its longest season ever this year. The slopes are expected to remain open through later this month perhaps into early April. Blue Mountain is operating at about 60-percent capacity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
People in Allentown have rallied in support for the proposed $15 minimum wage included in the new COVID-19 relief package. Activists marched from the old Lehigh County Courthouse to Allentown City Hall Tuesday, carrying signs supporting the increase.
Some New Jersey lawmakers are calling to re-evaluate how the state determines rebates for homeowners. The Homestead Rebate currently uses a formula based on data from 15 years ago and could be costing residents more than necessary. Homeowners who make less than $75,000 a year along with seniors and blind or disabled residents are eligible for the rebate program, which is supposed to help offset New Jersey's property taxes, but some residents could be getting the short end of the stick.
The New Jersey Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. Between February 3rd and the 26th, at least 14 cases have been reported in Union County, including a man in his late 60s who died from the disease. Health officials are working with local health departments to get to the bottom of what sparked the cluster of cases, which is a bacteria-triggered form of pneumonia. New Jersey typically sees anywhere between 250 and 350 cases of the disease each year.
Odubel Herrera had not appeared in a Phillies lineup since his May 2019 arrest on a charge of assaulting his girlfriend. Tuesday, Herrera played for the Phillies in their 4-2 loss to Toronto and manager Joe Girardi says Herrera is allowed a chance to redeem himself. "He's afforded a chance to prove to prove to his teammates, to the fans of Philadephia, to the organization that he is a changed person," Girardi says. The charge against Herrera was eventually dropped, but Major League Baseball suspended him 85 games for violating the league's domestic abuse policy. Herrera says he has earned his girlfriend's trust back and hopes to do the same with teammates and fans.