5:58 PM - August 7, 2020
5:58 PM - August 7, 2020

Upper Darby to resume trash pick-up Monday while sanitation workers remain quarantined

Upper Darby officials announced Friday that trash collection will resume on Monday with contigency workers while the township’s sanitation division remains quarantined due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Trash pick-up will be once per week rather than the usual twice weekly that occurs during summer months, and recycling services will be halted until the week of Aug. 24, officials said.

The township’s entire sanitation division was quarantined on Thursday for two weeks after several workers tested positive for COVID-19.

With the help of the Transport Workers Union and a priavte contractor, the township has arranged for a combination workforce to continue sanation services.

”We appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community thus far, and we’re confident that this plan will ensure the safety of our Township employees, while continuing collection service,” said Mayor Barbarann Keffer in a news release.

— Robert Moran

4:48 PM - August 7, 2020
4:48 PM - August 7, 2020

Last-ditch coronavirus aid talks collapse; no help for jobless now

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, accompanied by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, right, speak to reporters following a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. as they continued to negotiate a coronavirus relief package on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik / AP
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, accompanied by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, right, speak to reporters following a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. as they continued to negotiate a coronavirus relief package on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive collapsing Capitol Hill talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money ended in disappointment on Friday, making it increasingly likely that Washington gridlock will mean more hardship for millions of people who are losing enhanced jobless benefits and further damage for an economy pummeled by the still-raging coronavirus.

“It was a disappointing meeting,” declared top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, saying the White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to curb Democratic demands by about $1 trillion. He urged the White House to “negotiate with Democrats and meet us in the middle. Don’t say it’s your way or no way.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “Unfortunately we did not make any progress today.”

With the collapse of the talks, he said President Donald Trump was now likely to issue executive orders on home evictions and on student loan debt.

— Associated Press

4:06 PM - August 7, 2020
4:06 PM - August 7, 2020

Princeton announces online-only classes for undergrads this fall

FILE - In this April 5, 2018, file photo, people walk through the Princeton University campus in Princeton, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Seth Wenig / AP
FILE - In this April 5, 2018, file photo, people walk through the Princeton University campus in Princeton, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Princeton University on Friday joined a growing number of universities that have moved to remote instruction for all undergraduate students this fall as coronavirus cases around the country continue to climb.

The Ivy League university also said it will greatly restrict the number of students living on campus to those whose circumstances make it difficult or impossible for them to study from home or those who have specific research needs.

Initially, the university had planned to bring about half of its undergraduates back to campus for the fall.

”In brief, the pandemic’s impact in New Jersey has led us to conclude that we cannot provide a genuinely meaningful on-campus experience for our undergraduate students this fall in a manner that is respectful of public health concerns and consistent with state regulations,” Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber said in a message to the campus Friday afternoon.

The University of Pennsylvania last week said most instruction would be conducted remotely, though the school still plans to have more than 4,000 students living in campus housing. Arcadia University and the College of New Jersey this week said they would move to remote instruction. Arcadia also said it would suspend campus housing for the fall semester. The College of New Jersey said it would have few students living on campus.

West Chester University, the University of the Arts and Dickinson College all announced a move to remote instruction earlier this summer. Rutgers previously said it planned for most classes to be online and few students living on campus.

And Lehigh University last week said it would only allow freshmen and students with extenuating circumstances, such as personal or academic hardships, to live on campus.

With the start of the fall semester rapidly approaching, other universities, including Temple and Pennsylvania State University, are continuing with plans to bring students back and hold some classes in-person, despite mounting objections from some faculty and staff.

— Susan Snyder

3:56 PM - August 7, 2020
3:56 PM - August 7, 2020

Please Touch Museum laid off most of its staff and won’t reopen in 2020

Memorial Hall, which now houses the Please Touch Museum, is pictured in West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Memorial Hall, which now houses the Please Touch Museum, is pictured in West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

After planning for a September reopening, Philadelphia’s children’s museum now says it will stay closed at least through Jan. 1, 2021.

With no earned revenue coming in, the Please Touch Museum has also slashed staff through another round of layoffs — its third such cut in six months.

This latest reduction of 24 workers means the museum has gone from having 71 employees in mid-March to a skeleton staff of 18, the museum announced Friday.

— Peter Dobrin

2:45 PM - August 7, 2020
2:45 PM - August 7, 2020

PIAA delays fall sports two weeks after Wolf recommends no sports until 2021

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association announced a two week delay to the start of fall sports in an attempt to continue the dialogue with Gov. Tom Wolf, who recommended that all interscholastic and recreational sports in Pa. be suspended until 2021.

“The Board believes that the Governor’s strong recommendation to delay sports to January 1, 2021 has a potential negative impact on the students’ physical, social, emotional, and mental health,” The PIAA said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The PIAA said it is asking Wolf and the Departments of Health and Education to “work collaboratively” to further discuss fall sports.

— Rob Tornoe

2:00 PM - August 7, 2020
2:00 PM - August 7, 2020

Cardinals-Cubs game postponed due to another positive coronavirus case

Members of the St. Louis Cardinals wait to be introduced before the start of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis on July 24.
Jeff Roberson / AP
Members of the St. Louis Cardinals wait to be introduced before the start of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis on July 24.

Tonight’s Major League Baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs has been postponed after another Cardinals player tested positive for coronavirus, the league announced Friday afternoon.

It’s the 12th straight day a MLB game has been postponed due to COVID-19. The Cardinals have now been forced to postpone eight games and haven’t played since last week, after 13 members — including seven players — tested positive in Milwaukee.

— Rob Tornoe

1:50 PM - August 7, 2020
1:50 PM - August 7, 2020

‘Congress needs to get this done’: Murphy rips McConnell for stalled coronavirus relief bill

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy listens to a question from one of the press during the daily press briefing at Trenton War Memorial in Trenton, N.J., on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy listens to a question from one of the press during the daily press briefing at Trenton War Memorial in Trenton, N.J., on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy again blasted senate leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to go home last weekend, rather than remain in Washington to continue working on the next coronavirus relief bill.

“Mitch McConnell may have forgotten that while he gets paid no matter what, millions of taxpayers who fund his salary, and their families, are hurting and need help yesterday,” he said. “Congress needs to get this done…and while they’re at it, Congress needs to provide direct assistance to states so that we’re not left holding the bag just when our residents need us most, to lift ourselves back up off the mat. COVID-19 hasn’t cared if it’s ravaged a red state or a blue state, and neither should Congress.”

The state’s rate of transmission has dropped down to 1.15%, which Murphy called “a positive sign.” He also said mask compliance in outdoor areas seems to be improving, citing a recent trip to the Seaside Heights boardwalk.

But many residents are not cooperating with contact tracing, he said. According to their data so far, 45% those who test positive and answer calls from contact tracers have refused to give them any information.

“This is about public health, period. No one is out on a witch hunt here. No one is asking questions that have any focus other than trying to stop the spread of the virus,” he said.

— Allison Steele

1:25 PM - August 7, 2020
1:25 PM - August 7, 2020

Philly reports 134 new coronavirus cases, three additional deaths

Philadelphia reported 134 new cases of the coronavirus Friday, a number slightly higher than daily cases reported earlier this week.

City health officials have said that new cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia residents are decreasing; the city had an average daily case count of 123 new cases per day last week, and reported slightly over 100 cases per day for much of this week.

The city also reported three additional deaths Friday; a total of 1,698 Philadelphia residents have died of COVID-19 and the city has reported 31,120 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

— Laura McCrystal

1:20 PM - August 7, 2020
1:20 PM - August 7, 2020

The 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show will be outside in the summer

A row of tulips by Jacques Amand International are on display at the 2020 Philadelphia Flower Show inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on its opening day, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
A row of tulips by Jacques Amand International are on display at the 2020 Philadelphia Flower Show inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on its opening day, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is moving to a new location next year, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show’s organizer, announced Thursday in an email to members. The location is yet to be determined, but PHS is looking at early summer of 2021, instead of its usual early March schedule.

With no end in sight for the pandemic, PHS says it’s now looking for a location “with an eye on the outdoors.”

“Philadelphia is our home and offers a number of locations where the Show will benefit from ‘borrowed scenery,’ space for safe distancing and access to mass transit, parking and major highways,” PHS wrote in the email.

— Grace Dickinson

1:05 PM - August 7, 2020
1:05 PM - August 7, 2020

Some N.J. renters will be able to have back rent forgiven

"RENT STRIKE CAN’T PAY WON’T PAY" spray painted on the University Ave. bridge in Phila., Pa.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
"RENT STRIKE CAN’T PAY WON’T PAY" spray painted on the University Ave. bridge in Phila., Pa.

Some struggling New Jersey tenants will be able to have their rent forgiven, thanks to a new aid program announced Friday by Gov Phil Murphy.

Murphy said the program will allow owners of small apartment buildings to apply for grants to make up for payments renters couldn’t afford between April and July due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those landlords would then be required to let renters off the hook for back payments and late fees.

The aid will be available to landlords who own properties that have between three and 10 rental units. The $25 million program is being funded by the federal CARES Act. Murphy said about 30% of all New Jersey renters and 27% of low- and moderate-income renters live in 3-10 unit buildings. The grants, he said, will support responsible landlords by helping them provide quality housing.

”Many of these smaller buildings aren’t just personal investments for their owners. They’re also investments in neighborhoods and communities,” Murphy said.

More information on the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program can be found on the state’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency website.

— Rob Tornoe and Allison Steele

12:30 PM - August 7, 2020
12:30 PM - August 7, 2020

Pa. reports 758 new cases, 15 more deaths

Pennsylvania reported 758 new coronavirus cases on Friday, pushing the seven-day average of new cases down to 747, its lowest point since July 10

The Department of Health said 148,658 coronavirus tests were administered between July 31 and August 6, with 5,443 positive cases — a positive test rate of about 3.6%. Overall, 117,279 Pennsylvania residents have tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

At least 7,297 Pennsylvania residents have now died after contracting the coronavirus, with 15 new deaths reported Friday. Of the state’s deaths, 4,968 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

— Rob Tornoe

12:05 PM - August 7, 2020
12:05 PM - August 7, 2020

New York students statewide can return to classrooms in the fall, governor announces

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo removes a mask as he holds a news conference on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Mark Lennihan / AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo removes a mask as he holds a news conference on Monday, June 15, 2020.

New York’s governor said Friday he would allow children statewide to return to classrooms for the start of the new school year, citing the state’s success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo clears the way for schools to offer at least some days of in-person classes, alongside remote learning. Students will be required to wear masks throughout school day.

“Everywhere in the state, every region is below the threshold that we established,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. “If there’s a spike in the infection rate, if there’s a matter of concern in the infection rate, then we can revisit.”

Cuomo warned that New York’s roughly 750 districts still need to address the fears of parents and teachers that schools will be unsafe. He said he will ask school districts to post their remote learning plan and require “discussion sessions” with parents.

“They have to communicate with the parents and explain the plan and answer the questions of the parents,” Cuomo said.

— Associated Press

11:25 AM - August 7, 2020
11:25 AM - August 7, 2020

Chaddsford Winery employee tests positive for coronavirus

Chaddsford Winery will be shuttering its main location for two weeks after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, the winery said in a statement.

”While this decision exceeds state and local guidelines, we feel that it’s the safest, most responsible way to protect the health and safety of our staff and guests,” they said.

The employee and any other staff who had contact with him or her will quarantine for 14 days, Chaddsford said, and the facilities will be professionally cleaned and sanitized. Curbside pickup and online orders will continue, they added. The venue had recently allowed guests back to its Chadds Ford property, with reservations and socially distanced outdoor seating. The winery said it will also be contacting any recent visitors who may have had contact with the sick employee.

— Erin McCarthy

10:15 AM - August 7, 2020
10:15 AM - August 7, 2020

Baltimore to allow indoor dining to resume, but health commissioner ‘wouldn’t advise it’

Baltimore will allow indoor dining to resume today with capacity limits, despite fears over growing coronavirus cases and a warning from the White House coronavirus task force.

One person who isn’t in a rush to eat indoors is Letitia Dzirasa, the city’s health commissioner, who said she’s worried about the city’s rising positivity rate and case counts.

“I wouldn’t,” Dzirasa said when asked if she would eat indoors at a restaurant indoors during an interview on CNN Friday. “But what I would do is support my local restaurants by doing a lot of ordering in. But no, I wouldn’t advise it.”

Dzirasa said Baltimore’s positive coroanvirus test rate is around 5.8%, up from 5.1% at the beginning of July and well above Maryland’s statewide rate of 4.1%.

Philadelphia officials say they won’t consider allowing indoor dining to resume until at least Sept. 1, due to fears about the spread of the virus.

— Rob Tornoe

8:40 AM - August 7, 2020
8:40 AM - August 7, 2020

U.S. adds 1.8 million jobs in July in battle to recover from pandemic

A Now Hiring flag flies at Boardwalk Casino, an arcade in Sea Isle City, N.J. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
A Now Hiring flag flies at Boardwalk Casino, an arcade in Sea Isle City, N.J. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

The U.S. economy added 1.8 million jobs during the month of July, sending the unemployment rate down for the third straight month — a drop that fell in line with economist predictions and pointed to the recovery that began before infections started ticking up.

The unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent.

The job additions were sizable, but there are signs that the labor market recovery is cooling. In June, the economy added back 4.8 million jobs. In July, the number of coronavirus cases began surging and some employers either paused hiring or - in some cases - laid off workers for a second time.

The figures are drawn from a weeklong survey that takes place the week of the 12th each month — the middle of July. Because of the lag, economists urged caution about interpreting them, noting more troubling economic signs have emerged in recent weeks.

— Washington Post

8:00 AM - August 7, 2020
8:00 AM - August 7, 2020

South Jersey district’s preschool program shut down due to coronavirus cases

The Millville Child Care Center in Millville, N.J.
Google Maps
The Millville Child Care Center in Millville, N.J.

The Millville School District was forced to shut down its summer preschool program Wednesday after two employees tested positive for coronavirus, Superintendent Tony Trongone announced in a letter to parents and staffers.

“Despite our meticulous efforts to follow all social distancing guidelines and practices (as per Division of Children and Families (DCF)), it is evident that we are unable to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Trongone wrote. “Rather than continue to put employees, children and their respective families at risk, closing the program is the safest option we have to reduce the spread of the virus in our community.”

The all-day preschool program was scheduled to run through August 14, and the district attempted to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the Daily Journal. Only four classrooms were in use, each with no more than 10 children between the ages of three to five.

“[H]ere we are, a district that did our best, followed the protocols, and we couldn’t do it in a controlled environment, let alone when you go into a bigger, larger scale situation in September,” Trongone told the newspaper. “What are we going to do?”

— Rob Tornoe

7:40 AM - August 7, 2020
7:40 AM - August 7, 2020

White House, Democrats fail to reach agreement on coronavirus stimulus bill; next steps uncertain

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speak to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster).
Carolyn Kaster / AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speak to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster).

White House officials and Democratic leaders ended a three-hour negotiation Thursday evening without a coronavirus relief deal or even a clear path forward, with both sides remaining far apart on critical issues.

“We’re still a considerable amount apart,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after emerging from the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. President Trump called into the meeting several times, but they were unable to resolve key issues.

Pelosi called it a “consequential meeting” in which the differences between the two parties were on display.

“They didn’t take the virus seriously in the beginning, they’re not taking the consequences of the virus seriously at this time,” she said. “And that’s why it’s hard to come to terms.”

— Washington Post

7:20 AM - August 7, 2020
7:20 AM - August 7, 2020

Which towns have the most cases in and around Philly

7:00 AM - August 7, 2020
7:00 AM - August 7, 2020

Pa. faces shortage of coronavirus test supplies and delays in results

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf visits with medical workers during his visit to Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in June.
Commonwealth Media Services
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf visits with medical workers during his visit to Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in June.

A shortage of testing materials has stymied Pennsylvania’s efforts to significantly increase coronavirus testing statewide, a critical tool in slowing the spread of the virus, at the same time that national labs are facing turnaround delays in delivering results, the governor and health secretary said Thursday.

Pennsylvania is averaging more than 22,000 coronavirus test results per day and testing at least 4% of the population each month, said Health Secretary Rachel Levine. But the Health Department’s short-term goal is to test 5% of Pennsylvanians or more per month.

“We need to do better,” Gov. Tom Wolf told reporters, characterizing the state’s testing as “below average.”

Testing, along with contact tracing — the state this week announced plans to hire 1,000 tracers — helps to track the spread of the virus and keep people who have been exposed from unknowingly spreading it. The state’s power to improve its capacity could be a key factor in keeping case numbers tamped down and avoiding another peak before a vaccine is ready.

Levine said Pennsylvania is attempting to secure necessary supplies to expand testing in hospitals. The state has also partnered with Walmart, which will offer tests in at least 13 locations throughout the state with appointments made through Quest Diagnostics. But the results from those tests are still subject to delays of up to two weeks due to increased demand from states suffering larger outbreaks.

“Fourteen days … that’s too long,” Levine said. “What we’ve been told by Health and Human Services is they’re working with Quest and LabCorp in their capacity to decrease that wait time.”

The Department of Health said Thursday 148,132 coronavirus tests were administered between July 30 and August 5, with 5,496 positive cases — a positive test rate of about 3.7%, lower than the 5% threshold officials have said is a warning sign that the virus could be surging

— Justine McDaniel, Laura McCrystal and Rob Tornoe

7:00 AM - August 7, 2020
7:00 AM - August 7, 2020

Friday morning round-up