Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 5162 new cases of COVID-19 to the statewide total of 1,580,346. There were 72 new COVID-related deaths added to the overall total of 31,783. Right now, there are 2613 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 624 of whom are in the intensive care unit. The state also reports just over 72-percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are considered fully vaccinated against the virus.
New Jersey health officials report their state has recorded 34 additional COVID-related deaths and more than 1300 newly-confirmed cases. The state recorded its lowest seven-day average for confirmed positive tests since August, down to 1063. Officials also reported another 11 in-school outbreaks connected to 79 cases among students and staff.
More Pennsylvania children under the age of 12 are now getting the coronavirus vaccine. More are getting their first shots after the CDC signed off on Pfizer's vaccine. Nick Volturo spoke with a Pennsylvania dad about his thoughts on getting his two young sons vaccinated. "I'd say six months ago, my wife and I were discussing this and we were definitely a little more hesitant. With more testing and FDA approval, we definitely feel a bit more comfortable about getting the kids vaccinated," the dad says. Both Lehigh Valley and St. Luke's University health networks have begun vaccinating children in the 5-11 age group.
Health officials across New Jersey report high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine for younger children. There are 230,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children, aged five to eleven, available in the state. These are pediatric doses, which are smaller than adult doses, and the needles are smaller, too. Some hospitals are adding staff today to help with the surge in demand. Hospital hours around the state are also being expanded.
Because Dorney Park extended their season this year, Lehigh Valley Health Network cannot use their parking lot for their annual drive-thru flu shot clinic. Instead, LVHN's Terry Burger says they'll offer the clinic two days in the parking lot of Coca-Cola Park. "We will be operating there on November 6th and 7th from 9am-to-3pm. There's no requirement to get an appointment. It just drive-in, drive-thru. Bring your friends, your family, your co-workers," Burger says. While no appointments are needed, LVHN is asking you complete and bring a consent form for everybody in your vehicle who's getting the shot. That form can be found at www.lvhn.org/flushot. If you're not available to get the shot this weekend, LVHN is offering another drive-thru clinic November 13 from 9-to-3 at its Hecktown Oaks campus in Lower Nazareth Township.
Police are investigating a Thursday afternoon shooting in Allentown. Officers were called to the 700 block of N. New St. for a report of a shooting shortly after 5pm. They found a man with a gunshot wound and the man was transported by Allentown EMS to an area hospital, where he is expected to survive his injuries. There are no arrests made.
An Allentown police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a shooting five months ago. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin says the actions of an Allentown police officer were justified when he shot and wounded a suspect in June. The shooting took place outside the American Plaza strip mall as gun shots rang out from a crowd of people. Investigators say Daniel Gross saw a young man continually firing a handgun and refusing to drop it when the officer told him to. Elyn Marte was hit twice and recovered from his injuries.
An 80-year-old Northampton woman has died after a Wednesday afternoon crash in Lehigh Township. Brenda Kohler died about an hour after colliding with another vehicle around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon on Cherryville Road. The accident remains under investigation.
A Carbon County EMT says the ambulance association she works for knew her supervisor sexually assaulted and harassed her, but did nothing about it. A lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court against the Palmerton Community Ambulance Association by the unidentified woman. She claims the first incident happened in 2018 and the second this past March. After filing a police report this spring, state police filed sexual assault and sexual extortion charges against Gerard Alfano in those two incidents. The lawsuit claims Alfano remains employed by the association.
Wreckage of a plane reported missing off Cape Cod last weekend has been found. The Massachusetts State Police says a number of dive operations were conducted Thursday off Chatham and divers found the fuselage of the missing plane. However, the pilot was not located. Roger Mills of Massachusetts was reportedly flying the single-engine aircraft from Reading and was due for a landing in Chatham. Divers have also recovered partial landing gear.
It appears Gov. Tom Wolf's wife broke a Pennsylvania election law when she dropped off his election ballot for him ahead of Election Day. The governor's office is calling it "an honest mistake." In a radio interview, Wolf mentioned he didn't vote in-person and filled out a mail-in ballot instead. He said "my wife actually dropped it off personally two weeks ago, so it's there." A spokesman for the DA's office in York County, where Wolf lives, wouldn't say whether they've received any official complaints about how the ballot was turned in. In most cases, Pennsylvania law does not allow anyone other than the voter to return a mail-in ballot.
A Lebanon County lawmaker will attempt to have Pennsylvania postpone its primary in 2022 and also wants to have every voter in the state re-register. Rep. Russ Diamond says he'll introduce a bill to postpone the state's primary election from May 17 until August 2nd, with all other elections that follow to be delayed, as well. He believes the postponement will be necessary because of redistricting delays. Diamond's legislation also would require each voter to re-register to help, he says, "clean-up the state's registry system." Proof of citizenship and residency would be required to do so.
There's a recall for packages of Tastykake multi-pack cupcakes sold in Pennsylvania. The product is being recalled over possible contamination from tiny metal mesh fragments. All recalled items have sell-by dates between December 14th and December 18th and include Tastykake chocolate cupcakes, Tastykake crème filled chocolate cupcakes, and Tastykake buttercreme iced cupcakes. If you have any of these items, you should discard them or return them to the point of purchase for a refund.
Daylight saving time ends on November 7. On Sunday, Pennsylvanians will move their clocks back by an hour, ensuring an extra hour of sleep. The switch to standard time officially arrives Sunday morning at 2 o'clock.
A study by a consumer reports website says Pennsylvania is one of the ten worst states in the country for winter driving. Data released last week by MoneyGeek says Pennsylvania is the fifth-worst for traveling by car during the winter. MoneyGeek analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on a state's road conditions when weather includes sleet, snow, ice, and freezing drizzle. The study found Michigan had the worst winter roads, followed by Alaska, Wyoming, Ohio, and then Pennsylvania.
A statewide ban on plastics has gone into effect in New Jersey and single-use plastic straws will no longer be made available in restaurants. The ban went into effect yesterday, a year after Gov. Phil Murphy signed it into law. Stores may continue to sell plastic straws, however. Additional parts of the ban take effect next year, including plastic and paper single-use bags as well as disposable food containers and cups made from polystyrene foam.
After starting the season 5-0, Penn State has lost three straight heading into Saturday's game at Maryland. Head coach James Franklin sizes up his team. "I guess what I would say, there's obviously some ways we've gotta find to win some of these tough games," Franklin says. The Nittany Lions and Terrapins kickoff tomorrow at 3:30 on WAEB.