Wednesday, The Pennsylvania Department of Health added 2179 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the statewide total to 1,179,251. There were 52 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 as well. That number in Pennsylvania now stands at 26,659.
After the CDC and FDA both gave emergency authorization for the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12-to-15, some of those kids were in line to get their first shot. One girl says she couldn't wait to roll up her sleeve. "I think it's a big step in not necessarily making COVID go away but having it get better in a way," the girl said. That girl got her shot at St. Luke's Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township. Lehigh Valley Health Network has also begun vaccinating that age group.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is not planning on making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for students or school staff. Officials say the decisions around the vaccinations rest with the Department of Health and it is not their intention to require a vaccine but to leave that to local discretion. The statement comes after the FDA gave emergency authorization for the use of the Pfizer vaccine for kids aged 12 to 15. The CDC also endorsed its use of the vaccine for this age group Wednesday.
The Little League World Series is returning this year in August, but the 2021 Grand Slam Parade is not. Lycoming County officials say it wouldn't be possible due to COVID-19 precautions being taken by players. However, Williamsport Welcomes the World is still being held with some changes. It will be moved up one week to the first Friday of the series and will only be a two-day event. Officials still plan on hosting a Hall of Fam baseball player for public autographs during the event.
Gov. Tom Wolf is defending his decision to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, except mask wearing, on Memorial Day. Some GOP lawmakers have been asking the governor to ease restrictions sooner, saying that it could beneift businesses as people travel for Memorial Day weekend. The governor argues the decision for the May 31st date wasn't as simple as vaccination rates were taken into account. Wolf says he's not trying to play games.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order that will greatly relax coronavirus restrictions next week. "Since all the current metrics are pointing in the right direction, I will be signing an executive order that will effectuate all of the steps outlined for next Wednesday," the governor says. Murphy says the May 19th changes will represent a huge step forward in the state's comeback.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says vaccination numbers are lower among men. She says out of the 3.7 million New Jerseyans fully vaccinated, only 46 percent of them are men. Persichilli is encouraging women to speak with their male partners and family members about rolling up their sleeves. She has one message for men. "Nobody is stronger than the virus," Persichilli says.
A Lehigh Valley doctor flew his helicopter through a band of snow right before it crashed in northeast Pennsylvania. The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report Wednesday morning on the April 22 crash that killed 54-year-old Dr. Sanjay Kansara. Kansara took off from the Queen City airport in Allentown right around dark and about an hour later, signal with the helicopter was lost in Wyoming County, and the helicopter had gone down and burst into flames.
We now know where a local college leader is going. Last year Lafayette College President Alison Byerly announced she would be leaving that job when her contract expired at the end of June. Now, we know Byerly's next job. She's going to become the next president of Carleton College in Minnesota, where her daughter graduated six years ago. Byerly has been Lafayette's president since 2013. Her successor has still not be announced.
Stefano's Restaurant in Bethlehem and an adjacent building may be demolished to make way for a new restaurant and 61 apartments. The Bethlehem Planning Commission Thursday will discuss a proposal for demolition of the restaurant at 2970 Linden St. and a rental home behind the Sunoco gas station next door.
Gov. Tom Wolf and gas station officials are informing Pennsylvanians that there is no gasoline shortage in the state. Wolf sent out a tweet Wednesday, saying that they're monitoring potential impacts from the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, which ended yesterday. He says Pennsylvanians should expect only minimal impact here.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's administration is highlighting infrastructure investments aimed at addressing climate change. The projects will be spotlighted through a series of events today, with a ribbon cutting for the solar community project in Delanco. First Lady Tammy Murphy will also host a virtual discussion pertaining to the green economy.
The Philadelphia Eagles open their 2021 season on September 12th in Atlanta. There are two prime time games on the schedule. Week Three has the Eagles playing Monday Night Football at Dallas and Week Six will have the Eagles home to the Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on a Thursday night. The Eagles' bye week is Week 14 this year.