The Pennsylvania Department of Health added 4255 new cases of coronavirus to the state's overall total, which is now 1,049,655 since the pandemic began more than one year ago. 37 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 were also reported by the department, leaving the state's count at 25,237. 2247 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 427 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Lindsey Mauldin, with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, says the state's COVID-19 vaccination program is kicking into gear. "So far, more than 35-percent of the state's eligible population has received at least one dose. That's three percentage points above the national average of 32-percent," Mauldin says. That figures out to more than 5.7-million vaccinations. More than 2-million Pennsylvanians are considered to be fully vaccinated. About 35-percent of eligible Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Last week, Florida's governor signed an executive order prohibiting any government entity from issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports and at the same time stops businesses from requiring them. Gov. Tom Wolf thinks the idea is a bit of government overreach. "If a private company wants to say you have to have a vaccine, I'm not sure why the government should interfere with that private sector decision," Wolf says. Some state lawmakers here are pushing an idea similar to the executive order in place in Florida. Wolf says he's not sure why a bill is needed.
Lehigh County DA Jim Martin says the Catasauqua police officer who shot and killed an armed man in February was justified in his use of force. Martin says 27-year-old Ryan Shirey, who had a history of mental health issues, threatened officers with a gun in the basement of his parents' home before one of the officers shot him. The DA says the officer's body camera recorded the incident and determined the officer was justified in using deadly force, and no charges will be filed. Police were called to the South 14th Street home during what is described as a heated argument between Shirey and his girlfriend.
The current Emmaus real estate property tax bills mailed last week were above the millage rate council approved at the end of last year, meaning property owners got a bill overcharging them roughly $7. Two numbers in the millage rate were transposed, causing the overcharge. Emmaus property owners are told to wait until corrected statements arrive to pay their bills.
The Lehigh County coroner's office has identified the woman who was found dead after a Saturday morning fire that destroyed a home in Catasauqua. 75-year-old Cynthia Acerra died hours after the fire in the 100 block of Union Street. Acerra was identified by dental records Tuesday evening.
Shake Shack, which is known for its premium burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries and shakes, is planning to open its first regional location later this year at the Lehigh Valley Mall. Construction on the Shake Shack is underway next to Dave & Buster’s, which just opened last year. No opening date has been announced.
Pennsylvania State Police say the state's instant check system set a record for activity in the first quarter of 2021, the third straight quarter with record-breaking volume. More than 427,000 background checks were conducted on would-be gun buyers. That's nearly 123,000 more than in the first quarter of 2020. 1.5-percent of those would-be buyers had their application denied.
The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania's May primary election in less than month away. Pennsylvanians have until May 3rd to register to vote or change party affiliation. To do so, go to www.pavoterservices.pa.gov or register through the mail or in-person at your county's voter registration office.
The lawyer of a man who is accused of storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6th is reporting that his client was allegedly beatn by a corrections officer in prison. Ryan Samsel's lawyer says he was viciously and savagely beaten by a corrections officer on March 21st at a prison in Washington, DC while he hands were ziptied behind his back. Samsel's lawyer says he has since been moved to another location and an internal investigation into the beating is being conducted.
New Jersey is working to involve residents in stopping hate. The Attorney General's Office is celebrating 75 years since New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination was passed. In honor of the anniversary, the office's Division of Civil Rights will kick off a month-long "Stop the Hate" series to encourage the public to celebrate historical strides while also participating in setting future goals.