The Pennsylvania Department of Health added 17,445 more COVID-19 cases Monday. That's over a three-day reporting period. 106 new COVID-related deaths were also reported over those same three days. Pennsylvania's current COVID hospitalization rates are now the highest since February 3rd after jumping by nearly 15-percent over the past week.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says everyone 18-and-up is now eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, provided enough time has passed since their previous dose. "Simply put, every New Jerseyan over the age of 18 can now receive a booster. There is no longer any other any consideration other than those time frames that you need to give," the governor says. Murphy says the shot loses its effectiveness over time and he says ahead of holiday gatherings a booster makes sense.
An experimental chewing gum might reduce the spread of COVID-19. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a gum containing a protein that traps coronavirus particles. In trials, the gum cut the viral load in saliva samples by 95-percent. The gum tastes and feels like conventional chewing gum and can be stored for years at normal temperatures. The scientists say the gum would add to the benefit of vaccines and be especially useful in countries where vaccines aren't yet available or affordable.
A new option in cancer treatment is coming to the Lehigh Valley. "We're looking forward to launching a stem cell transplant and cellular therapy program at Lehigh Valley Hospital, which will be the first of its kind in the region," says Lehigh Valley Health Network CEO Brian Nester. LVHN says adding these treatments means convenience for patients, who currently have to travel miles away for months at a time for treatment.
Lehigh University police say multiple students were assaulted over the weekend at a fraternity. University police responded shortly after midnight Sunday morning to an area on campus where many fraternities are located. The campus police chief says multiple Lehigh students were assaulted at the Theta Chi fraternity. After initial investigations, police are seeking five suspects, described as Hispanic males.
Easton City Council will review a new police contract tonight that would give officers annual raises for four years. If approved, officers will get a lump sum for the 2021 raise, which is retroactive to Jan. 1. That payment will range from about $2,400 for a first-year officer to about $3,400 for a sergeant. This year and in 2022, the raises would be 4%, followed by 3.5% in 2023 and 3.0% in 2024. By the end of the deal, raises would total about 15.3% after compounding the annual increases.
A Lancaster County man has pleaded guilty to his actions at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Edward McAlanis admitted to one of four counts against him, with the penalty up to six months in federal prison and a $5000 fine. McAlanis' sentencing will be in February.
Tower Health has secured a new owner for two of its hospitals in Chester County, both of which will now remain open. Canyon Atlantic Partners will take over ownership and operation of Brandywine and Jennersville hospitals in Chester County, effective Jan. 1. The Jennersville Hospital was to be closing and the Brandywine Hospital was being looked at for a potential closing as well.
Pennsylvania Republicans now have one less choice in the race for the party's primary nomination for U.S. Senate. Sean Parnell suspended his campaign on Monday after it was revealed that his estranged wife has been awarded primary custody of the couple's three children. In his ruling, the presiding judge said that he had concluded that Parnell had committed some acts of abuse in the past. Parnell denies those allegations and in a statement, Parnell said that he strongly disagrees with the judge's ruling and that he cannot wage a campaign for Senate while asking the court to reconsider.
The state House of Representatives has approved a measure designed to create stronger penalties for drivers who have several DUI convictions. The bill calls for higher penalties for multi-offenders who have higher blood-alcohol content levels when they're tested. It also aims to guarantee that four-time DUI offenders get their sentences raised to a second-degree felony level. The bill passed 168-32, and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
Lafayette College has fired football coach John Garrett, who was named the Leopards coach in December 2016. Garrett ends his time at Lafayette with a record of 15-33 after going 3-8 this season. Lafayette says it has started a national search for his replacement.