Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 3584 new cases of coronavirus to the state's total, which is now at 1,520,815. 134 new COVID-related deaths were also reported Wednesday, leaving the state's overall total at 30,721. Right now, 3025 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 694 of whom are in the intensive care unit. The state reports nearly 6.4-million Pennsylvanians are considered fully vaccinated against the virus.
Pennsylvania's health leaders are preparing to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine for kids once it gets approval. The decision from the FDA and CDC could come within the next two weeks. State health officials say once the authorization comes, they'll be ready. They added that they're optimistic for the rollout of vaccinations for kids age five to eleven as they have already experienced a high level of demand for the age group.
Leaders at Penn State are announcing an expansion of a COVID vaccine mandate for staffers. The extension means that workers at the university's Fayette, Altoona, Media, Dubois, Erie and Harrisburg campuses will also have to be vaccinated against the virus by December 8th. Those campuses have contracts with the federal government and the expansion of the mandate is to make sure the university is in compliance with rules requiring federal contract workers be vaccinated.
The Commonwealth Court is now overlooking the lawsuits against the state's acting secretary of health for her mask mandate in schools. The lawsuits were filed by parents upset with the mandate, Republican state lawmakers and schools. Lawyers for the group argued that the secretary failed to go through a public and transparent process and accused the official of violating the disease control and prevention act. The judges are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.
What began as a police chase Tuesday night ended with a woman shot to death by police Wednesday morning. State Police Trooper David Peters says police used spike strips to stop the truck and then they tried to talk the husband and wife out of their vehicle. "We gave commands to exit the vehicle. The male and female occupants inside that vehicle refused to do so," Peters says. Eventually, Peters says the man inside the truck gave his wife a gun and he got out of the truck. That's when Peters says the woman shot at police, prompting return fire which killed the 54-year-old Mount Pocono woman. The incident happened on Route 611 near Shine Hill Road in Monroe County. The investigation into the incident continues.
The dilapidated 281-year-old Glendon Hotel may come down within the next 30 days. The collapsing building has been vacant for years, but Glendon did not have the resources to remove it. Northampton County Council will vote tonight on a $146,045 contract for Bean Inc. to clear the site within 30 days. A Pennsylvania grant will cover $100,000 of the cost.
U.S. News is ranking Allentown as the 11th best place to retire in the United States. U.S. News cites the city's historic homes and buildings, the city's flair for art, and the local sports teams as some of the reasons why. It also points out the city's close proximity to outdoor activities like hiking and skiing, and how close it is to major cities like Philadelphia and New York.
President Biden in his childhood hometown of Scranton Wednesday tried to gain support for his multi-trillion dollar spending package and infrastructure plan, touching on a key infrastructure issue of broadband and internet. "You saw what's happened with this COVID. Try teaching from home. How many people have you seen in McDonald's parking lots with their kids in their cars so they can get access to the internet to be able to help their kids in school. What are we doing? This is the United States of America, dammit," the President said. President Biden says his plan will also help the climate, create jobs and lift up the middle class. But Republicans are concerned about the price of his spending plan, and only want the bipartisan infrastructure package passed.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is ruling that anyone can sue to challenge a city's laws even if they don't reside there. This ruling came down Wednesday over a case regarding Harrisburg's gun ordinances. Now, plaintiffs don't have to wait until they're charged for violating the ordinances before challenging them. Firearm Owners Against Crime applauded the decision, saying these days it's difficult to get the government to do the right thing. Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse says this is good news for the gun lobby and lawyers who are going to make money suing cities with this widened definition of standing, but it's bad news for residents in Harrisburg and across the state.
Many state parks in Pennsylvania are now using battery operated equipment, like mowers and chainsaws, as a way to cut down on pollution. Cindy Adams-Dunn, who heads up the DCNR, hopes everyone follows their example. "Our second aspiration of this is not just to do it, but to demonstrate to the public that they should try it at home. So as people do renovations at their own home, as they buy new vehicles, buy new tools, they'll have have seen us do it and take that idea home and the cumulative impact will be greater and greater," Adams-Dunn says.