6:44 PM - November 10, 2020
6:44 PM - November 10, 2020

Cherry Hill motor vehicle office closed due to employee testing positive

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reported Tuesday that the Cherry Hill Vehicle Center has been closed due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19.

The Cherry Hill center will be closed until next Monday, the commission said. The employee who tested positive was last in the Cherry Hill center on Oct. 31.

— Robert Moran

6:36 PM - November 10, 2020
6:36 PM - November 10, 2020

November positive tests in U.S. pass million mark

The U.S. has surpassed 1 million new confirmed coronavirus diagnoses since the start of November.

The tally of positive in just 10 days shows the reach of the virus amid a strong fall surge.

Several states posted new highs Tuesday, including 12,000 new cases in Illinois and more than 7,000 in Wisconsin, where the governor planned to take the unusual step of delivering a live address to the state urging unity and cooperation to fight the virus.

The death toll is also soaring and hospitals in several states are at the breaking point. Indiana reported 63 new deaths Tuesday.

— Associated Press

6:12 PM - November 10, 2020
6:12 PM - November 10, 2020

Murphy adds Maine, New Hampshire to list of states with quarantine advisory

Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday expanded to 45 the number of states and territories where people traveling to New Jersey from those places are advised to quarantine for 14 days because of the spread of coronavirus infections.

Maine and New Hampshire were the newest additions to the list of states reporting positive test rates higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or states with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut meet the criteria for the travel advisory, but because of the interconnected nature of those states, a 14-day quarantine “is not reasonable in all instances,” but non-essential travel is discouraged, the state said.

“As we battle a second wave of COVID-19, stopping the spread of this deadly virus could not be more important.” Murphy said in a statement. “It remains our top priority to ensure the safety of New Jersey residents, and we ask individuals arriving from these 45 states to get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for 14 days.”

The list of states and more details can be found here.

— Robert Moran

3:40 PM - November 10, 2020
3:40 PM - November 10, 2020

New Jersey reports 3,877 new cases, double last week’s average

New Jersey on Tuesday reported 3,877 new positive COVID-19 tests, more than double last week’s average and five times higher than last month’s.

“These numbers are devastating,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “We are still in the midst of a pandemic.”

The state on Tuesday also reported 21 additional deaths.

As of Monday, the state’s positive test rate was about 7.5%."We are definitely back in the soup," Murphy said Tuesday afternoon, pointing to an increase in indoor transmission of the virus in private settings and “restaurants turning into clubs as the night wears on.”

— Anthony R. Wood and Rob Tornoe

3:35 PM - November 10, 2020
3:35 PM - November 10, 2020

LEAP Academy in Camden has closed campus for in-person classes

The LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden announced Tuesday that it has closed its campus for in-person instruction after someone there tested positive for COVID-19.

The sprawling campus, which enrolls more than 1,500 students in pre-K through 12th grade, will shift to remote learning until Nov. 24, said spokesperson Adam Dvorin. The school’s six buildings on Cooper Street in downtown Camden were closed as a precaution after a discussion with health officials, he said.

“The care and safety of LEAP students and staff remains a priority,” Dvorin said in a statement.

Last month, LEAP moved its elementary school to remote learning for 10 days after two students tested positive for the virus. The outbreak only impacted a building that housed about 300 elementary students who attended virtual classes during the shutdown.

After teachers raised health and safety concerns, LEAP delayed plans to reopen its classrooms in August to start the school year with half-day classes in-person five days a week. Instead, the charter school began with virtual learning for all students until in-person instruction began Oct. 5. LEAP, which opened in September 1997, was among the first 17 charter schools in New Jersey.

— Melanie Burney

3:00 PM - November 10, 2020
3:00 PM - November 10, 2020

Biden supporters who attended Wilmington speech should get tested, Carney says

Biden supporters were in a celebratory mood in Wilmington, Delaware as Biden became the President-elect of the United States on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Biden supporters were in a celebratory mood in Wilmington, Delaware as Biden became the President-elect of the United States on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.

Delaware Gov. John Carney said anyone who attended President-elect Joe Biden’s speech in Wilmington on Saturday night should be tested for COVID-19.

Carney said he was happy to say most people attending the speech were wearing masks, but said many attendees disregarded social distancing guidelines outsides the perimeter of the event to celebrate Biden’s victory.

“The spontaneous crowd that gathered there, things like that are frankly hard to control,” Carney said.

Karyl Rattay, the director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said Delaware didn’t see any major outbreaks over the summer stemming from the large protests for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd, largely because most people wore masks.

“I’m more concerned about how many people were gathering with friends, watching football games or watching the the Biden speech at home, indoors,” Rattay said.

— Rob Tornoe

2:44 PM - November 10, 2020
2:44 PM - November 10, 2020

Thousands of Philly residents haven’t yet received stimulus checks

As many as 64,000 households in Philadelphia have not yet received payments from the federal coronavirus stimulus, Mayor Jim Kenney said Tuesday.

To receive checks, those households must submit information to the federal government before Nov. 21. Payments of up to $1,200 are available for individuals, or $2,400 for married couples, with up to $500 for each child.

Kenney said most of the households that have not receive payments yet are households that do not normally file federal tax returns because they have little or no income.

“We need to get the word out because there is less than two weeks left,”

Kenney said.Individuals can contact the city’s financial empowerment centers at 855-FIN-PHIL for help submitting their information.

— Laura McCrystal

2:27 PM - November 10, 2020
2:27 PM - November 10, 2020

Delaware considering new restrictions - including curfews - to curb rise of COVID-19 infections

Governor of Delaware John Carney speaks during a press briefing about Delaware’s response to coronavirus, in the auditorium of the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Governor of Delaware John Carney speaks during a press briefing about Delaware’s response to coronavirus, in the auditorium of the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

After keeping their COVID-19 numbers relatively flat through much of October, new cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again in Delaware.

Gov. John Carney said the state is now averaging 241 new cases a day over the past seven days, a 67% increase over the past two weeks. Carney said the data from contact tracers shows the rise in infections is largely being driven by residents attending personal gatherings and not by people visiting bars, restaurants, or other retail establishments.

Karyl Rattay, the director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said the state is considering new restrictions to curb the rise in infections. Rattay said ideas that are being considered include limits on public and private gatherings, curfews on days when people tend to gather, and tighter restrictions on sports activities.

“We’re telling you this now because this is not what we want to do,” Rattay said. “We also don’t want to have to close schools again and have any additional impact on the economy."

One area the virus isn’t spreading much is within Delaware’s public schools, where in-person classes have taken place in a hybrid model since October. Rattay said there have been only two known student-to-student exposures in public schools and three cases of spread among teachers who ate lunch together.

“In-school spread is really, really rare,” Rattay said.

On Tuesday, 127 Delawareans were hospitalized with COVID-19, which Carney called “a concerning number.” It’s the highest hospitalization rate in the state since early June, and 38% higher than the end of October, when less than 100 people were hospitalized.

“We need to do a better job,” Carney said. “We need to make sure we’re wearing our masks in public and private. We need to make sure we’re keeping social distancing.”

— Rob Tornoe

1:30 PM - November 10, 2020
1:30 PM - November 10, 2020

Philly coronavirus cases hitting all-time highs, but health officials aren’t planning new restrictions

Nurse Julia Henessey (right) takes the swab from Janice Mason at the new Jefferson St. Raymond COVID-19 test site funded by Philadelphia, run by Jefferson Health at St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Philadelphia, Pa. on October 1, 2020. The free site is open 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Thursdays and 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Saturdays.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Nurse Julia Henessey (right) takes the swab from Janice Mason at the new Jefferson St. Raymond COVID-19 test site funded by Philadelphia, run by Jefferson Health at St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Philadelphia, Pa. on October 1, 2020. The free site is open 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Thursdays and 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Saturdays.

New cases of the coronavirus in Philadelphia are continuing to increase and hit all-time highs, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Tuesday.

On Tuesday alone, the city reported 879 new COVID-19 cases, by far the largest increase in a single day over the course of the pandemic. The virus is spreading primarily through social gatherings, but also in offices and at restaurants, Farley said.

“We do worry about the spread of this infection whenever people gather for whatever reason,” he said. “Because the spread is mainly happening in private settings, our success depends on what Philadelphia residents do on their own.”

While Farley said no new restrictions will be put in place at this time, he urged residents to avoid contact with anyone outside their own household and to wear masks when they leave their homes.

The city had an average of 515 new confirmed cases per day in the week that ended Saturday, a number that is “higher than our peak in mid-April,” Farley said. While increased testing contributes in part to that increase, Farley said the positivity rate of tests has increased four-fold since September. At least 9.3% of tests performed last week were positive, Farley said — the highest rate since mid-May.

Hospitalizations are also increasing “fairly rapidly,” in Philadelphia, Farley said. There are currently 386 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in city hospitals.

“We are increasingly concerned that hospitals may come under strain if this rate of increase continues,” he said.

Philadelphia has been averaging 15 deaths per week in recent weeks, Farley said — an increase from about 10 per week in September. The city reported 12 new deaths on Tuesday.

— Laura McCrystal

11:59 AM - November 10, 2020
11:59 AM - November 10, 2020

Pennsylvania reports over 4,300 new cases and the most deaths since early June

Pennsylvania reported 4,361 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, once again setting a new daily record as a spike in infectious shows no signs of slowing.

It’s just the second time since the start of the pandemic the number of new daily cases surpassed 4,000, and the commonwealth is now averaging over 3,400 new cases a day over the past seven days, according to an Inquirer analysis.

“We are now seeing the highest case counts of COVID-19 across Pennsylvania that we’ve seen since the beginning” of the pandemic in March, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said on Monday, adding that she believes the peak has yet to come.

Overall, 238,657 Pennsylvania residents have tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with the Department of Health reporting a positive test rate of 6.9% over the past seven days.

At least 9,086 Pennsylvania residents have now died after contracting the coronavirus, with 62 new deaths reported on Monday, the most in a single day since the beginning of June. Of the commonwealth’s deaths, 5,922 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

— Rob Tornoe

11:38 AM - November 10, 2020
11:38 AM - November 10, 2020

New cases are up 79% in Bucks County, where officials point to outbreaks from family events, weddings, and a few parties

Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, Chair of the Bucks County Commisioners, speaks during a March press conference.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, Chair of the Bucks County Commisioners, speaks during a March press conference.

As the country and commonwealth continue to see increases in coronavirus cases, Bucks County officials on Tuesday joined the chorus of people sounding the alarm about concerning spikes and “record high” numbers in the region. As has been the case elsewhere, Bucks County has seen outbreaks connected to small gatherings of family and friends and broad “COVID fatigue” eight months into the pandemic, the commissioners said.

“Last time, long-term care facilities were our problem. This time, they’re doing very well,” said commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “It’s the general public that’s having trouble. In general they’re having trouble because they’re probably tired of all this and they’re having private events.”

The county has seen outbreaks from family events, weddings, a celebratory gathering following a football game, and at least one Halloween party, said commissioner Bob Harvie.

From Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, the county reported 826 additional confirmed cases, a 79% increase from the previous week, and on Friday it hit a record-high number of daily reported cases with 161. However, officials said the case increases have not correlated to an increase in hospitalizations or deaths.

One piece of good news, Harvie said, is that Bucks County officials are “seeing no spread within the schools themselves,” even at schools that are doing in-person learning full time.

Even as the pandemic worsens, officials said another shutdown or additional mitigation measures should not be needed if people heed public health advice.

“There is no reason that we will have to do that if everyone is wearing a mask,” Marseglia said.

While officials at the national and state levels have warned against having multiple-household gatherings for the upcoming holidays, Bucks County officials stopped short of offering such recommendations.

Marseglia said she’d recommend people maybe “trim the plans back a lot,” have outdoor gatherings if the weather cooperates, or wear masks around relatives, especially those who may be vulnerable.

“We want to make sure we can go into this holiday season and have some normality,” Harvie said, “and we can’t do that if the numbers keep spiking.”

— Erin McCarthy

11:03 AM - November 10, 2020
11:03 AM - November 10, 2020

Philly schools to remain fully virtual until further notice

William Hite, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, walks through an empty Benjamin Franklin High School in February.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
William Hite, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, walks through an empty Benjamin Franklin High School in February.

As COVID-19 cases surge, Philadelphia public schools will remain virtual until further notice, multiple sources confirmed.

Principals received the notice Tuesday morning. Students in grades Pre K through 2 were supposed to return to school Nov. 30, and teachers in those grades were scheduled to return to classrooms Monday.

Two-thirds of the 32,000 children eligible to enter classrooms two days a week had opted to stay home, Hite said last week.

Now, all will remain home indefinitely.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers had opposed any return to schools amid the current COVID spike.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is expected to speak at the city’s coronavirus press briefing at 1 p.m.

— Kristen A. Graham

10:50 AM - November 10, 2020
10:50 AM - November 10, 2020

Philadelphia, Delaware to hold coronavirus briefings Tuesday

Mayor Jim Kenney will hold a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Mayor Jim Kenney will hold a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Officials in Philadelphia and Delaware will offer coronavirus updates on Tuesday. Here’s a schedule of how to watch and stream:

— Rob Tornoe

10:22 AM - November 10, 2020
10:22 AM - November 10, 2020

Boot & Saddle in South Philly is closing permanently due to the pandemic

Boot & Saddle Bar, 1131 S Broad St, Philadelphia as seen on Tuesday morning November 10, 2020. This South Philadelphia bar and music venue is closing.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Boot & Saddle Bar, 1131 S Broad St, Philadelphia as seen on Tuesday morning November 10, 2020. This South Philadelphia bar and music venue is closing.

Boot & Saddle, the South Philadelphia indie-rock venue and bar that’s been shuttered for eight months due to the coronavirus pandemic, will close permanently.

Sean Agnew, who co-owns and books bands at the club as well as at the larger Union Transfer, said that a deal had been finalized to close the South Broad Street venue on Monday.

Agnew said the 150-capacity club, which opened as a music venue in 2013, was a casualty of the COVID-19 shutdown, which brought the live music business to a sudden halt in March. Agnew told the Inquirer on Tuesday, he and his partners — he co-owns the businesses with Bowery Presents, a subsidiary of concert promoters AEG — decided that the Boot had to die, so that Union Transfer could live.

“We no longer have the luxury to be pay the rent, bills and all the other expenses for two shuttered venues,” Agnew said. “It’s a double whammy, not only do we have $0 in ticket sales from the past eight months but we have refunded thousands of customers for canceled shows.”

— Dan DeLuca

10:00 AM - November 10, 2020
10:00 AM - November 10, 2020

N.J. senators warn of ‘escalating crisis’ at Fort Dix prison, where an outbreak has infected hundreds

Families and advocates are raising alarms about the conditions at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Dix, the low-security prison in central New Jersey, where 229 prisoners and 12 staff are now sick. They say the outbreak was preventable — and blame the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for transferring 150 prisoners this fall from Ohio’s FCI Elkton, where more than 1,000 prisoners and staff have been infected.

On Monday afternoon, New Jersey’s U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons calling the situation a “rapidly escalating crisis.” The situation, they said, demands an indefinite moratorium on inmate transfers, and immediate testing of all staff and prisoners.

“It is clear that BOP does not have an effective plan to ensure COVID-19 positive inmates are not transferred between facilities,” they wrote to BOP Director Michael Carvajal. They added: “All FCI Fort Dix inmates, staff, and the surrounding communities are now at increased risk for contracting COVID-19, with potentially deadly consequences.”

The Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment on Monday afternoon.

As recently as mid-October, U.S. Attorneys opposing compassionate release motions by Fort Dix prisoners argued that “the BOP has taken effective steps to limit the transmission of COVID-19.”

— Samantha Melamed

9:20 AM - November 10, 2020
9:20 AM - November 10, 2020

CDC releases update guidelines for Thanksgiving

Co-owner Dean Frankenfield holds up turkey drumsticks for customers to see at Godshall's Poultry in Reading Terminal Market on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Philly's turkey purveyors are prepping for a pandemic Thanksgiving.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Co-owner Dean Frankenfield holds up turkey drumsticks for customers to see at Godshall's Poultry in Reading Terminal Market on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Philly's turkey purveyors are prepping for a pandemic Thanksgiving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is once again urging people to keep their Thanksgiving celebrations limited to people within their own household to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Amid a national and regional spike in new cases, the CDC posted more specific guidance about Thanksgiving on Monday, pointing out that limiting the size of holiday gathers is the best way to eliminate the risk of spreading the virus.

If you do plan to host people at your home, the CDC encourages outdoor gatherings as much as possible, while still suggesting guests wear masks when not eating and drinking. Social distancing guidelines should also be maintained, and if you must host indoors, open windows and doors to increase ventilation, or place your central air and heating system on continuous circulation.

As far as cooking goes, the CDC suggests wearing a mask while preparing and serving food, and recommends storing your mask in a breathable bag while eating or drinking. Avoid potluck-style gatherings, and encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves.

The CDC’s guidance echoes recommendations from local leaders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, which are both experiencing a surge in new infections.

— Rob Tornoe

7:30 AM - November 10, 2020
7:30 AM - November 10, 2020

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware all seeing similar spike in cases

A tunnel of orange envelopes pedestrians along N. 19th St. just below Spring Garden on an unseasonably warm Monday in Philadelphia on November 9, 2020.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
A tunnel of orange envelopes pedestrians along N. 19th St. just below Spring Garden on an unseasonably warm Monday in Philadelphia on November 9, 2020.

At the pandemic’s eight-month mark, Pennsylvania is in the midst of a streak of about 3,200 cases a day, and New Jersey more than 2,200 a day.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Monday the new wave’s peak has not been reached as new restrictions on New Jersey bars and restaurants and a ban on travel for indoor youth sports teams will go into place Thursday.

As of Monday, 7.5% of people being tested in New Jersey were infected, and that rate was nearly 7% in Pennsylvania — both higher than previous weeks and indicative of wide community spread. In Philadelphia, the rate is up to 9.1%, while in Delaware the rate is lower, about 4.3%.

Here’s where things stand through Tuesday morning, according to an Inquirer analysis of data from each local health department:

  • Pennsylvania: Averaging 3,200 new cases a day, a 37% increase over last week’s average (2,329 a day) and 204% higher than last month’s average (1,054 a day).
  • New Jersey: Averaging 2,238 new cases a day, a 38% increase over last week’s average (1,617 a day) and 241% higher than last month’s average (657 a day).
  • Delaware: Averaging 228 new cases a day, a 40% increase over last week’s average (163 a day) and 64% higher than last month’s average (139 a day).

— Rob Tornoe, Justine McDaniel, and Erin McCarthy

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

U.S. now averaging over 100,000 new cases a day

Medical assistant Samara Yusuf tested a patient in the drive-through COVID-19 testing site Friday at North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale. (Leila Navidi/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
LEILA NAVIDI / MCT
Medical assistant Samara Yusuf tested a patient in the drive-through COVID-19 testing site Friday at North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale. (Leila Navidi/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

The United States has reported more than 100,000 new infections for seven straight days, and is now averaging nearly 120,000 new cases a day as COVID-19 continues to spread widely across the country

111,433 new cases were reported on Monday across the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 30 states set a record for their seven-day average, and seven states — including Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee — reported new highs for daily infections Monday, according to the Washington Post.

The largest concentration of new cases is in Midwestern states, as the virus has spread rapidly throughout Great Lakes and Mountain West states, with North Dakota and South Dakota leading the way.

Hospitalization numbers are not any better: There are nearly 59,000 people battling the virus in hospitals in the United States. The country has not had a similar number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since late July. Forty-five states have a higher average number of COVID-19 inpatients than a week ago.

Cases were at 9 million just 10 days ago. Now, the country has counted at least 10,086,506 cases and at least 238,000 people have died. By comparison, it took three months for the pandemic to reach 1 million cases from zero. In the past seven days, the country has reported just under 800,000 new cases.

— Rob Tornoe and the Washington Post

7:00 AM - November 10, 2020
7:00 AM - November 10, 2020

Tuesday morning roundup: Fauci plans to continue working for President-elect Biden

Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.
Graeme Jennings / AP
Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.
  • Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said he plans to continue in his current role as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. “This is an important job. I’ve been doing it now for a very long time. I’ve been doing it under six presidents," Fauci said on CNN Monday night. "It’s an important job, and my goal is to serve the American public no matter what the administration is.”
  • With hospital capacity at 100%, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced Monday that health care workers with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 will be permitted to continue working in hospitals' COVID-19 units.
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has tested positive for the coronavirus. He told the Washington Post that he contracted the virus “probably somewhere, out there in the universe” — possibly at a White House election night party.