The Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday added 4178 new cases of COVID-19 to the state total, which now sits at 1,548,641 since the pandemic began. 142 new COVID-related deaths were also reported Wednesday, leaving the state with 31,197 overall. Right now, 2798 people are hospitalized with the virus, 681 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Gov. Phil Murphy says he doesn't plan on introducing more coronavirus vaccine mandates for adults or children if he's re-elected. He spoke about the issue at his coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, making sure to say he would still be leaving options on the table. It comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom won a recall election in September and decided three weeks later that children would need to be vaccinated against COVID in order to go to school. Murphy says he has "zero expectation" of that happening, explaining it's not necessary.
Lehigh County commissioners have adopted its 2022 Lehigh County budget, a budget which contains no tax increase on property owners. County Executive Phillips Armstrong's budget allocates about $500 million in spending next year and holds the tax rate at 3.78 mills.
Easton City Council has given a thumbs down to a plan for an apartment building on South Sixth Street. In a 6-0 vote, council opposed the ANR Development plan to combine lots from 34-42 South Sixth Street to put up a 34-unit building with 29 parking spaces. Council says tall buildings can go up downtown, but five stories is too high for an area currently occupied by row homes. Mayor Sal Panto says that means the developer has to go back to the historic commission and make changes.
The former Agway store in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, has been torn down. Officials say the building had been falling apart for months, but was now deemed an imminent threat to the safety of the public.
Three people were injured after a police pursuit Tuesday night that ended in a four-vehicle crash. State police were pursuing two vehicles after a violation at Airport Road and Race Street. That pursuit ended after the vehicles crashed with two other vehicles at the intersection of Routes 145 and 329. Three people in the vehicles being pursued were taken to the hospital with injuries.
Emmaus Trick or Treat postponed until Sunday because of a poor weather forecast. Emmaus' trick or treating was supposed to happen Friday night.
The CDC says people who use syringe service programs are five times more likely to enter treatment and three times more likely to stop using drugs. People who support such programs have been demonstrating at the state Capitol this past week for Senate and House bills that will legalize the services across the state. The programs include designated areas where drug users can get and dispose of needles from professional health care workers and be tested for HIV and hepatitis C. Pennsylvania reportedly has the third-highest overdose rate in the country.
Somerset County's district attorney is now without his law license. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended the license of DA Jeffrey Thomas. Thomas is facing charges from a September incident in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman. If convicted on all counts against him, Thomas could be sentenced to fifty years in prison. Thomas denies the accusations against him.