The Pennsylvania Department of Health added 3126 new cases of coronavirus to the state's overall count, which now sits at 976,847. 17 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported, leaving the state's number at 24,706 since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, the department now says 3.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered here, with 1.3 million Pennsylvanians considered fully vaccinated.
Pennsylvania is aiming to open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1st through a new four-pillar plan. Health officials say they took into account geographic reach, access for residents, equity across demographics and estimated demand. The four key pillars include the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, targeted Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics, mass vaccination sites and mobile clinics. Officials say they're also updating the state's vaccine provider map.
Rite Aid is extending COVID-19 vaccine priority scheduling to educators in the state. The move is in accordance with the Biden Administration's goal to get this group vaccinated by the end of this month. Appointments will be made available for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educators, school staff and licensed childcare program staff today and tomorrow and again on March 26th and 27th. Eligible individuals can make an appointment at www.riteaid.com.
New Jersey's COVID vaccination efforts are pushing forward. More than 1.1-million people are fully vaccinated and just over two-million people have received their first dose of the vaccine. Meantime, the state reported 3830 new infections Thursday and 31 new coronavirus-related deaths.
New Jersey is rolling back more coronavirus restrictions today. Restaurants can now open their indoor dining rooms at 50-percent. That's up from 35-percent, but still does not permit seating at bars. Kids sports leagues can also start playing between states today as well. Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order earlier this week lifting the ban on interstate sports.
New Jersey officials are urging residents and business owners to beware of people posing as COVID-19 contact tracers. The Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is urging residents to give their local health department a call if they're having doubts about the person on the other end of the line.
Friday’s Phantoms game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has been postponed due to league COVID-19 protocols. Wednesday night's home game against Binghamton was postponed for the same reason.
A 35-year-old Nazareth man reportedly told police he stabbed his wife Wednesday night in their Union Street home. Michael Graves was arrested for allegedly stabbing his wife several times. The victim was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and was last listed in critical condition. The incident happened around 10:30 Wednesday night. Graves faces attempted murder and related charges. Police say Graves stabbed his wife because he believes she was cheating on him.
A retired Lehigh Valley doctor faces charges in Schuylkill County. 76-year-old Hiram Dale, of Coopersburg, is accused of setting a fire at a building at the Villas Crossing Golf Course back on October 29th. His attorney, John Waldron, doesn't seem to dispute Dale did it. "The structure was a structure that he couldn't salvage," Waldron says. Dale, who owns the property, initially told investigators he was using a burn barrel when the fire got out of hand and spread to the building, but has since admitted to setting the fire because he wanted to get rid of the building. Dale faces additional charges because a firefighter suffered a heart attack at the scene while fighting the blaze. That firefighter survived but Dale is still charged with recklessly endangering another person.
A second Republican might join the race in the Lehigh Valley's 7th Congressional District. Businessman, veteran and current member of the National Guard Kevin Dellicker is forming an exploratory committee to gauge support for him running. Dellicker has never held elected office but says that's a plus. "I'm not a politician. I don't come with that baggage. I'm not an establishment candidate. I don't have to answer to anybody," Dellicker says. Should Dellicker run, he'd join Lisa Scheller in the race for the GOP nomination.
The IRS is giving tax filers until May 17th to get their federal return in. Kris DePaolo withe Werner & Company CPAs in Allentown says the move gives the IRS dig out of a pretty deep hole. "The IRS still has about 18-million returns it still hasn't processed from 2019," DePaolo says. He emphasizes the extension does not apply for businesses which pay quarterly taxes. Thursday, Pennsylvania announced it too is extending the deadline to file state returns.
The Bucks County First Assistant District Attorney has been demoted after being caught working a second job while on department time. Bucks DA Matt Weintraub doesn't mince words about Gregg Shore working as a Door-Dash driver while he was supposed to be doing the work of the DA's office. "What he has done is indefensible, thoughtless, selfish and so stupid. It's senseless," Weintraub said. So, why didn't Weintraub fire Shore? Weintraub says it's because he believes in second chances. "For now I'm giving him that chance. He has a shot at redemption," Weintraub said. Shore will now serve as deputy district attorney. Jennifer Schorn replaces him as first assistant district attorney.
For the first time since being traded to Indianapolis, former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has spoken to the media. He was asked about reports he wasn't the most popular teammate in Philadelphia. "I've learned in this business and in life, you're just not going to make everyone happy. As much as you might want to, you can't. It's unfortunate that people have those opinions but I'm going to learn from it and try to be the best teammate I can be and if any of my teammates out there don't think I was the best teammate, I apologize. I wish I could be better," Wentz says. Wentz declined to say much about the circumstances that led to his departure from Philadelphia.