Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 496 new cases of coronavirus to the state's overall total, which is now 1,206,935 since the pandemic began. There were 22 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, pushing that number to 27,417 here in Pennsylvania. Currently, 710 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 175 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
St. Luke's-Lehighton is trying to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to homes in the Poconos. The travel team has given vaccinations to homebound people in Carbon County over the past two weeks. That team consists of a nurse, pharmacist and other administrative employees and it putting together plans to head to Monroe and Pike counties later this summer.
Kutztown University is going to be holding several coronavirus vaccine clinics this summer. The clinics will be held at the Kutztown University Student Recreation Center from 10am to 2pm on June 15th, July 9th, July 30th and August 20th. The clinics will be open to everybody ages 12 and up.
Pennsylvania's Senate has advanced legislation to ban vaccine passports here. The bill was passed by the Senate Wednesday and now heads to the state House. Gov. Tom Wolf has said there are no plans to require any proof of vaccination.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the coronavirus vaccine continues to be most effective in terms of avoiding serious symptoms and outcomes. "The data shows that those who are testing positive, or entering our hospitals, or dying sadly, are now mostly like overwhelmingly those individuals who have not been vaccinated," Murphy says. The governor says 72-percent of all eligible residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
It's a guilty but mentally ill plea in a Lehigh County double murder. 37-year-old Zakiiy Carson will spend 25-to-50 years in prison after his plea. Carson shot his mother, Latricia Ezell, and sister, Ashley Campfield, back on October 28, 2018 at the rear of an apartment building on North Fifth Street in Allentown. Carson told police he killed the women after arguing with his mother about how his nephew was being treated.
A veteran Phillipsburg, New Jersey police officer faces charges of sexual misconduct while on duty. A woman alleges 50-year-old William Lance called her over to his patrol car back in August 2019. When she approached he allegedly exposed himself and grabbed her arm and placed her hand on him. Warren County prosecutor Jim Pfeiffer says it's not terribly surprising it took the woman nearly two full years to file the report. "In any situation that involves a criminal offense by a police officer there's a lot of reluctance on behalf of the victim to come forward because they think they will not be believed," Pfeiffer says. Lance is suspended with pay.
Wells Fargo will be closing its branch at 3090 West Tilghman Street in west Allentown. While that branch will close in September, Wells Fargo has opened a new branch in downtown Allentown. The newest branch opened Tuesday in Five City Center at 8th and Hamilton streets. It replaces one at 7th and Hamilton streets.
A bill to ban abortions prompted by a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis is headed to the state Senate after being passed in the House. State representative voted 120-83 in favor of the bill, which provides criminal penalties for doctors who violate it. Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.
Several Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are backing legislation to prohibit the teaching of what's known as “critical race theory” in commonwealth schools. But opponents of the bill say it's actually an attempt to prevent educators from pointing out how much racism has played a role in American history. "This is only an attempt for those who don't want to escape this country's racist history, who don't want to face the xenophobia and other issues in this country so they can retain their own power," says Democratic St. Rep. Donna Bullock.
A parent and teacher at a private school in Bergen County, New Jersey is quitting because she doesn't want to teach Critical Race Theory, calling it racist. Dana Stangel-Plowe has been teaching English at Dwight-Englewood School since 2014, but says it is now going against its mission of teaching about race. She alleges the head of the school separated teachers by color and threatened to fire the entire faculty and replace them with people of color.