Here's what's trending for February 4.


This morning's rain will be this afternoon's and evening's ice according to Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg. "The big issue with all that water out there is going to start to ice up as temperatures drop to and below the freezing mark. And then, everything is going to be a big sheet of ice where it doesn't get a chance to dry out," Lundberg says. He says the weekend ahead will be cold as well, with temperatures probably not getting beyond freezing either day.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the spike in Omicron covid cases is apparently slowing down. Case rates are declining in virtually every county in the state. There were just over 7200 additional coronavirus cases reported statewide on Thursday. The Lehigh Valley has seen a dramatic decrease in case numbers, falling 86 percent since the number of cases peaked at nearly 2500 daily cases on January 12th. Thursday's count for the Lehigh Valley area was 335 reported cases.

The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show there are nearly 8.5 million people in Pennsylvania who are fully vaccinated from COVID. That accounts for just under 66 percent of the population. Health officials say a little more than two million people still need to get their second shot. In all, about 82 percent of the state's residents have had either their first or second shots.

More local school students can ditch their masks in school. The Allentown Diocese is lifting its coronavirus mask mandate. Starting next Tuesday, students and staff will no longer have to wear masks at the Catholic schools within the Diocese. The plan was announced in a letter from the superintendent to parents Wednesday. Masks are still recommended, just not required.

Some Northampton County employees could get a healthy pay raise if enough of them are willing to roll up their sleeve. Northampton County Council has approved a 25% temporary pay increase for corrections officers, if 75-percent of the prison guards get vaccinated. Those who can verify they got the shots will receive the bonus pay for about three months. They also must work an extra shift during a two-week pay period to receive the additional 25-percent. County Executive Lamont McClure says without the agreement, he might have issued an executive order requiring vaccination and he says it's better to get paid to get the shot than get forced to get it.

A Tower Health surgeon reportedly has been fired for prescribing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to patients to treat COVID. Officials at the hospital became aware of accusations levied at Dr. Edith Behr on Wednesday and she was let go that day. The statement says that neither drug has been approved by the FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID. Behr has been connected to a Lebanon County woman who has been using the Facebook page of a Palmyra restaurant to help people obtain the two drugs.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office says it'll not confirm nor deny whether it's looking into the 'Taste of Sicily' restaurant in Palmyra. The owner's daughter, Christine Mason, was using the restaurant's Facebook page as a go-between to a doctor who she claimed would acquire unapproved COVID-19 cures. "The haters are out in full force. This is another magnitude that I have not seen yet," Mason says.

New Jersey Senate Republicans are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to give up his emergency pandemic powers. They're calling the movement "Give It Back," and say Murphy has limited parental rights, economic freedom for businesses, and vaccine choice. Murphy could choose to extend the public health emergency for another 30 days since it's set to expire next week.

The Allentown Diocese has lifted its ban of boys wrestlers from competing against girls in team competition. The diocese says the decision will be in place only for the rest of this season. It also noted that a further statement on future seasons would be made after a review at the statewide level by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. Many area programs, including Palisades, East Stroudsburg North, Pocono Mountain West and Salisbury, already have had girls in their starting lineups this season.

A lot of people are going to be out of work in Monroe County soon. FedEx announced yesterday they will be shutting down a supply chain located in Tobyhanna. The closure will affect over 200 employees at the site. The jobs will be eliminated in three phases starting April 1.

Conagra Brands is issuing a recall for bottles of two popular salad dressings sold in Pennsylvania. The company says the recall affects their Wish-Bone Chunky Blue Cheese and Thousand Island dressings that were not properly labeled to show they contain eggs and may affect people who have allergies. The dressings were sold in 15-ounce and 24-ounce bottles with best buy dates of November 9th, 2022, January 31st, 2023, February 1st, 2023, and February 11th, 2023. Customers who purchased the dressings should discard them and contact Conagra Brands customer service.

Your sweet tooth will soon cost you more as Hershey announced it will raise product prices this year. Hershey said the price hikes will help it deal with rising labor and ingredient costs. The company reported net sales across all its brands went up just over ten-percent last year. Hershey believes brand loyalty will keep customers purchasing Reese's and Kit-Kats despite the higher prices.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs have announced that the upcoming baseball season will be extended by six games. The IronPigs final homestand will now begin on Tuesday, Sept. 20 and proceed through Sunday, Sept. 25 against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The IronPigs were originally scheduled to end the 2022 season at home with a three-game series against the RailRiders from Monday, Sept. 19 through Wednesday, Sept. 21.

The Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly have hired their next head coach. The team is hiring former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to be its new coach. Jacksonville held a second interview with Pederson on Wednesday before deciding to hire him on Thursday. The 54-year-old Pederson was with Philadelphia from 2016 until 2020, and he won a Super Bowl in 2017. He has a 42-37-and-1 career record as a head coach.


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