Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 3622 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the state's overall total since the pandemic began to 1,286,426. Pennsylvania's death count is now at 28,131 after 33 new COVID-related deaths were reported Wednesday. Right now, 1617 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. 462 of them are in the intensive care unit.
As recently as earlier this month Gov. Tom Wolf had this to say on him forcing schools to implement mask mandates. "I think the school districts in Pennsylvania have to decide what they want to do," is what Wolf had been saying. That all changed Wednesday when the governor asked lawmakers to return to session and pass legislation to mandate masks in schools. Wolf says the Education Department has only received plans for a mask mandate from 59 out of the state's 474 school districts. He wrote a letter to Republican leaders saying he's been receiving countless calls from parents, teachers, pediatricians and others asking for masks in schools.
Congressman Mike Doyle says he has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Last night on Twitter, the Pittsburgh-area Democrat says he caught the virus while in Washington for votes. Doyle says he feels okay and has mild symptoms and is quarantining in Washington in accordance with DC guidelines.
The company that wants to put two warehouses on the land around the Dutch Springs aqua park, wants to donate the lake that draws swimmers and scuba divers each summer. Trammell Crow Co. has offered the 51-acre quarry to Lower Nazareth Township, which turned it down for many reasons, including liability and and inability to enforce a no-swimming rule there. Trammell officials have released a statement reading, in part, "Trammell Crow recognizes the importance of Dutch Springs as a recreational facility for both scuba divers and the community at large. We continue these discussions and are hopeful that we can come to a resolution that suits the needs of the community."
An 18-year-old faces charges after investigators say he was drunk, high on cocaine and speeding when he crashed his car into a home last month. Early in the morning of July 18th, Joseph Capobianco was allegedly drunk, had cocaine in his system and was driving 113 mph when he drove through several front yards, went airborne and crashed into the garage of a home in Upper Nazareth Township. Capobianco is the son of District Judge John Capobianco, whose jurisdiction happens to include the area of the crash.
A 23-year-old man from the Saylorsburg area died early Wednesday morning after being thrown from the tractor he was driving in a late-night crash in Monroe County. Dalton Davidson was driving a farm tractor and had slowed down to make a turn when a SUV rear-ended him on Route 209 in Chestnuthill Township just after 10:30 Tuesday night. Police say the driver of the SUV will be cited for driving at an unsafe speed.
A woman is dead after a motorcycle crash in Lehigh County late Tuesday night. 49-year-old Kerri Sodl was the passenger on a motorcycle that hit a tractor-trailer just after 11pm in the 800 block of Trexlertown Road in Upper Macungie Township. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and her death was ruled an accident. The investigation continues.
Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania's opioid disaster declaration ended Wednesday after the Republican-controlled General Assembly declined to extend it. The governor says the declaration allowed the state to work more effectively to reduce overdose deaths and help Pennsylvanians obtain treatment and pursue recovery. The governor added that with or without a disaster declaration, the issue would remain a top priority for his administration.
Labor Day is still more than a week away but police are already warning drivers that they'll be looking out for anyone who gets behind the wheel after having too much to drink or after taking drugs. "If a driver is suspected of being under the influence of legal or illegal drugs, troopers will conduct field sobriety checks. If necessary, they will summon a certified drug recognition expert or what we call a DRE, to assess the driver's condition," says Pennsylvania State Police Captain Robert Wagner.
The New Jersey Supreme Court is laying out goals to create a fairer court system. The Supreme Court identified nine reforms designed to improve equity for people of color, as well as individuals impacted by mental health conditions, addictions, and challenges related to poverty. The new plan aims to support employment and job training initiatives for clients, improve safeguards for those with mental health challenges, and expand access to legal representation at all levels of the court. The court laid out several initiatives last year, and it appears this year's initiatives aim to push the progress forward.