Pennsylvania health officials Thursday added 625 new cases of coronavirus to push the state total to above 70,000. Of those 70,000-plus cases, the state reports 64-percent are being termed recovered. 108 new deaths were also reported, bumping the state total to 5373, 424 of which occured in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Moravian College plans to hold in-person classes this fall. President Bryon Grigsby says after meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Department of Education, they decided the college will return with face-to-face classes and on campus living. The school will be implementing a no-break measure to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, meaning there will be no fall break. Students will return home for Thanksgiving and finish the semester remotely. More details on living, dining halls, testing, sanitizing and curricular changes will be announced in the next few weeks.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry say they're handling more than two-million unemployment claims. Some are still waiting for their first check, however. The department's secretary says they were staffed for record low unemployment before the coronavirus pandemic hit and, while they've hired a significant number of new employees, they're struggling to meet demand.
Philadelphia St. Rep. Brian Sims is furious Republican St. Rep. Andrew Lewis tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month and the GOP side of the aisle never informed any Democrats. "I want a full-blown investigation by the attorney general. Every single member of the Republican leadership that knew that this was happening, I want an investigation of what kind of contact tracing that they did," Sims says. Sims wants House Speaker Mike Turzai to resign and the attorney general to investigate his inaction. However, in a statement, Attorney General Josh Shapiro says, "While I understand their frustration and concern, a criminal investigation is not warranted based on our initial review.” A GOP House spokesman says, "Anyone he came into contact with at the Capitol that day, within the building and the process of being here that day, was notified and has self-quarantined now for 14 days."
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is planning to reopen state park beaches and pools. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says the beaches will be open for swimming starting June 6th, but pools will remain closed until June 12th. Capacity at the beaches and pools will be limited to 50-percent. State parks and facilities within red-phase counties will remain closed.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is standing firm on not rushing to completely reopen the state, even though COVID-19 data is heading in the right direction. In Thursday's daily numbers, 66 people died from the virus and that brings New Jersey's death toll to more than 11,000. More than 1200 new cases of coronavirus were reported Thursday in New Jersey.
Fewer people are filing for unemployment as the New Jersey's Department of Labor reports 34,000 new claims. That's the lowest number since mid-March, but much higher than a year ago. Unemployment officials say it has made major strides in recent weeks paying unemployed workers, but there's still a backlog of those who have not received a check.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is hopeful summer camps can take place in New Jersey so long as the state continues to make progress fighting coronavirus. Murphy says he continues to hold out hope for camps but he can't give a timeline on it. He says the outbreak must continue to slow for summer camps to happen. He also is optimistic for daycares to reopen but again no timeline. Murphy says a team is putting together a responsible set of guidelines for summer camps and daycares to reopen.
Members of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association will gather today outside Woody's in Red Bank to demand the governor allow outside dining right now. Craig Kunisch, a restaurant owner in Mahwah, says since the governor won't green light inside dining, there is no reason not to allow outdoor dining. Members say they have shown the governor plans on how it can be done safely.
Today is one of those days you'd be well-advised to keep a heads-up for rough weather. "It's an unstable air mass, very tropical, very warm, very humid. A front is approaching from the west so that's going to increase the instability factor and we're pretty certain there will be thunderstorms around, especially late this afternoon or early evening hours," says Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg. He says any thunderstorm could dump flooding rain, large hail and include damaging winds.
The parents of a Carbon County two-year-old are charged with knowingly leaving a loaded handgun with reach of the toddler who then fatally shot himself. Andrew Zawoski and Christine McFarland are both charged with involuntary manslaughter and a variety of other charges. They've both be sent to Carbon County Jail under $50,000 bail.
A short-term state budget with no tax increases is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk. The state Senate passed the $25.8 billion spending plan days after it moved through the state House along party lines. It's reported the budget keeps most state agencies' funding flat.