Less than a month ago, Gov. Tom Wolf said this about ordering mask wearing in Pennsylvania schools. "I'm not considering any statewide mandate," Wolf said then. Tuesday afternoon, the governor did a 180. "The Department of Health is directing all early-learning and child-care and K-12 schools, private or public, schools across the state to require all students and staff to wear masks when they're indoors," Wolf said. The governor says he has changed his mind because of a statewide COVID-19 resurgence thanks to the delta variant of the virus. The Department of Health order will take effect September 7, the day after Labor Day, and will require students, teachers and staff to wear masks when inside.
State Republican leaders are not too happy with the governor's new mask mandate for schools. Senate President Jake Corman says this is exactly the kind of government overreach voters opposed in May when they stripped Governor Wolf of the authority to extend emergency declarations. He added that the governor and acting health secretary were adamant about leaving the decisions up to local leaders, and it is disingenuous for the governor to flip-flop now.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 3249 new COVID-19 cases and 21 new COVID-related deaths Tuesday. Currently, there are 1850 people hospitalized with the virus. 474 of them are in the intensive care unit.
St. Luke's Half Marathon and 5K scheduled for October 16th and 17th have been canceled. St. Luke's says the decision is due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
It's still going to rain hard today into tonight, but Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says it won't rain quite as long as predicted 24 hours ago. "The storm is moving a little more quickly than we first envisioned and that's why we're accelerating the back end of the rain to sometime late tonight. So probably after 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, the rain is done," Lundberg says. Before that happens though, Lundberg is still expecting anywhere from three-to-six inches of rain to fall in our area and that will be enough to cause minor and perhaps major flooding.
Over 100 Pennsylvania National Guard members are being deployed today throughout the commonwealth. Members will be on active duty and stand by as the remnants of Hurricane Ida make their way across the state. Officials say the soldiers and airmen of the Pennsylvania National Guard stand ready to assist the citizens of Pennsylvania and partner agencies. About 120 members will be ready for today with around 35 high-water capable vehicles and two helicopters.
Gov. Tom Wolf is declaring a disaster emergency as the remnants of Hurricane Ida move through Pennsylvania. The storms are expected to drop up to seven-inches of rain in several parts of central and south-central Pennsylvania today. The governor says this proclamation will allow for our emergency preparedness teams to provide support needed throughout the storm and its aftermath. Wolf urges Pennsylvanians to monitor local weather and traffic conditions before making any plans and to prepare for flooding.
After losing the entire 2020 Great Allentown Fair because of the pandemic, the last thing organizers needed on opening day of this year's fair was a forecast for three-to-six inches of rain. However, Jessica Ciecwisz says once the rain leaves, it'll be pretty much the same Great Allentown Fair. "When you walk into the 2021 Great Allentown Fair, it will closely, closely, closely resemble 2019," Ciecwisz says. Like always, the Fair runs through Labor Day.
New Jersey is bracing for the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which is expected to hit today. A Flash Flood Warning is in effect for the Garden State, with forecasters explaining the ground is already saturated because of last week's blast from Tropical Storm Henri. The National Weather Service says the wind will pick up by tonight and get even heavier tomorrow, reaching almost 30 miles an hour. A total of three to six inches of new rainfall is expected by the end of this cycle.