The commonwealth has eclipsed another unwanted milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Health Thursday added 3623 new cases of COVID-19 to the state's total, which has now passed the 1-million mark. 41 new COVID-related deaths were also reported Thursday, leaving the state's overall count at 24,917.
Pennsylvania is receiving fewer doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine than what was estimated by the federal government. Officials say as they've learned throughout the rollout, projections are never promised as the state is getting about 66,000 doses of the J&J vaccine next week, instead of 200,000. They say this may change some distribution plans, but they don't believe it will disrupt the accelerated pace in getting shots into people's arms.
In an effort to get everyone in Phase 1-A an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month, the state is ordering providers to step up. Under Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam's amended order, providers must work with local Area Agencies on Aging and other local groups to help older adults get scheduled for appointments. Providers are also urged to set aside appointments for those in Phase 1-A seeking appointments through a local Area Agency on Aging. Providers that don't comply may lose their vaccine supply. Seniors looking for appointments can call 1-800-753-8827 for help.
Lower Macungie Middle School is closed today because of COVID cases in the building. Eyer Middle School, also in the East Penn School District, is also closed until Monday due to COVID cases in their school.
New Jersey health officials say one-in-five adults there has been fully vaccinated, as the number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 continues to rise. Thursday, hospitalizations increased in New Jersey for the third consecutive day and officials reported another 3469 cases of the virus and 18 more confirmed fatalities.
Rutgers University will require all students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before arriving on campus in the fall. Students may request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. The New Jersey university said it made the decision based on assessments by public health experts and assurances by the federal government that vaccines will be available for all Americans by the end of May.
All Lehigh Carbon Community College sites are closed Friday due to concerns about a former student. According to L-Tri-C's Twitter page, the sites are being closed out of an abundance of caution because of suspicions related to a former student and an event scheduled for today. Linda Baker, LCCC's executive director of college relations, says the former student had been removed from class for improper conduct but had indicated he was interested in coming back to campus to attend an event, but the college is taking steps to prohibit him from coming to campus. While all in-person classes are cancelled, online and remote classes will be held as usual.
State police are investigating after a person was found dead in a vehicle parked along Burger Hollow Road in Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County. The body was found Thursday morning in the back seat of an SUV. Neighbors said the vehicle had been there for almost two days. Authorities have not yet commented on the person's identity or what happened.
We might tie or set an all-time record high temperature today, but that isn't the weather headline. Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says wind is. "I'm seeing wind gusts in Akron, Ohio of 48 knots, 44 knots in Butler, so you translate that to miles per hour, we're talking 50 mile per hour wind gusts or better. That's what's coming into our area midday and afternoon," Lundberg says. He says the winds will slowly die down a bit tonight.
Police are searching for a suspect involved in a hit-and-run crash in Carbon County. The crash happened Wednesday afternoon on Route 209 in Jim Thorpe. Police say a green Isuzu stake body truck hit two vehicles and then sheared off a pole in Lehighton before fleeing the scene.
Pepsi and Peeps have teamed up for a new drink. Pepsi + Peeps, according to Pepsi, “combines the crisp, refreshing taste of Pepsi cola with the pillowy-soft and sweet Peeps Marshmallow flavor consumers love.” However, the only way to try the limited-edition flavor is to win it in the #HangingWithMyPeeps sweepstakes. The deadline to enter is March 31st.
A Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker says school funding should be tied to whether schools are open full-time. St. Rep. Stan Saylor of York County says kids aren't getting the education taxpayers are paying for with online learning. He wants to change the school code so that schools using an online model don't get state money.
Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko announces the first change to the state's Cash 5 game in 13 years. "Players who play Cash 5 with Quick Cash will get their regular Cash 5 ticket and a Quick Cash ticket giving them a chance to win $2 or $6 instantly," Svitko says. While the change means an additional chance to win, it also means the price of a Cash 5 tickets doubles in price from $1 to $2.
A bill that requires early, in-person voting machines be made available by this fall in New Jersey is on its way to Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature. The measure would require all counties in the Garden State to open between three-and-seven polling places for machine voting. County election officials have complained there may not be enough time and money to implement an early voting system in time for the November election. New Jersey will become the 25th state to require early, in-person voting by machine.
New Jersey labor officials say the Garden State's employment numbers increased last month by 10,700. The increase still left New Jersey's jobless rate unchanged from January at 7.8-percent.
The Lehigh Valley has its first high school state basketball title in 35 years. Allentown Central Catholic won the PIAA 4A boys basketball championship Thursday in Hershey. The Vikings beat Hickory 41-40.