The Pennsylvania Department of Health added 4080 new cases of COVID-19 over a two day weekend reporting period. The overall case total in Pennsylvania now sits at 1,237,956. Over those same two days another five COVID-related deaths were also reported. That overall figure is now 27,903. For the seven days ending August 5, the statewide percent positivity rate stood at 5.4-percent.
St. Luke's University Health Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network have announced all three will require their employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. St. Luke's Dr. Jeffrey Jahre says it wasn't a move taken lightly. "It's not something that we would put forward if we didn't honestly believe in it for ourselves, for our family and for our friends," Jahre says. LVHN's Dr. Tim Friel says the decision wasn't a hard one to reach there. "In my mind this was a no-brainer. We need to do this. We owe this to our patients and we owe this to our community," Friel says. St. Luke's employees must be vaccinated by September 25th. Good Shepherd is giving its workers until October 15th to get the shot. Lehigh Valley Health Network won't require the vaccine until after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives its full approval. After that, workers will have eight weeks to get the shot.
Monroe County has the second-highest COVID-incidence rate out of all the counties in Pennsylvania. The county reported 174 new positive cases last week, which is about 70 more than what was reported the week prior. This makes Monroe's COVID-incidence rate about 92 per 100,000 residents. Transmission levels in Monroe are still being considered substantial along with Pike, Carbon and Wayne counties.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is pushing back against criticism of his new policy on masks in schools, saying it's needed to keep New Jersey schools open five days a week. "We are not going to sacrifice the health of any child, any educator, any family or any community. We're not going to just let COVID shut down our schools," Murphy says. After originally saying individual school districts would be left to decide whether or not to mask up, Murphy mandated masks for all students and staff in K-12 last Friday. He says children are at risk of serious illness and death because they are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
New Jersey officials say students who get their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine this week can get their second dose by the beginning of the school year. Health officials say the virus impacts children, citing the rising case numbers among the age group.
We're learning more about a fatal shooting at a busy shopping center in Lower Nazareth Township. Officers were called to the Lower Nazareth Commons off Route 248 for a report of a shooting in the area of the Target store around 2:15 Sunday afternoon. 20-year-old Elijah Johnson, of Barrett Township, Monroe County was killed and 22-year-old Jayzell Sanders from the Mount Pocono Area, was suffered a gunshot wound to the right shoulder. Sanders has told police he was sitting in the front seat of a car in the Target parking lot when two males in another car got into the backseat of the vehicle he was in. Sanders said the two males started to argue, so he exited the car and started to run toward the front of the store. He says the men then started shooting at him, so he fired back at them with his pistol that he brought with him. Investigators say video surveillance of the lot from Target confirms Sanders running through the lot and shooting back toward the Buick with a handgun.
Blue Mountain Resort now officially has a new owner. A group that includes the operator of Camelback Resort in the Poconos has now purchased the Carbon County ski resort for almost $32 million. Today's Morning Call reports Blue Mountain President and CEO Barbara Green will remain in those positions. Green has held those titles since 2007.
Someone in Monroe County is now a whole lot richer. A winning Treasure Hunt ticket worth $230,000 was sold at the Fill and Fly in Stroudsburg. Three other winning tickets were sold around the state, so the four winners will be splitting their share which amounts to about $57,500. The lucky winner is being told to sign the back of the winning ticket and contact their nearest PA Lottery office.
The state is planning to launch a free online job training program. Department of Labor and Industry officials say about 435,000 Pennsylvanians are currently unemployed, and businesses are struggling to fill positions. They added that with the shifting economy, they're interested in providing a mechanism so that job seekers in Pennsylvania can connect to the skills that they need. SkillUp PA was first tested in Lancaster County and officials say it had positive results. The program is set to launch on August 14th.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey says more people who exchange assets online, like cryptocurrency, should have to report what they are sending and receiving for tax purposes. "Centralized digital asset exchanges behaving as brokers should be required to report transactions just like other kinds of brokers already do," the senator says. Toomey says he does not want to favor or punish specific platforms with the amendment.