TL;DR: Coronavirus cases are still trending upward in the Philly area, with Pennsylvania reporting its highest single-daily totals since early May. While young adults are fueling the recent increases, health officials are warning that a potential surge among older age groups could follow. And, as many schools in the region continue with virtual learning, the digital divide between the “haves” and the “have nots" is much more apparent.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

💵 President Donald Trump and Congress are considering a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

🔌 Pennsylvania utilities will soon be able to cut off nonpaying customers months after a ban was placed on the practice due to the pandemic. But the poorest customers will still be protected.

🏟️ Pennsylvania’s loosened restrictions on crowds went into effect today. Fans can go back to some sports stadiums, but Philly itself is holding off.

🌡️ A spike in coronavirus cases in a Pennsylvania correctional facility outside of Harrisburg has created a ripple effect, leaving county jails temporarily unable to transfer inmates bound for cells in larger state prisons.

🎃 Most Philly-area towns are letting parents decide whether kids can trick-or-treat. Here’s what to consider.

🗞️ What’s going on in your county? We organized recent coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by counties mentioned in the stories to make it easier for you to find the info you care most about.

Local coronavirus cases

📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.

This week, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have seen increases in reported COVID-19 cases, and Friday didn’t break the trend. Pennsylvania reported an additional 1,380 cases, becoming the highest single-day total since early May and the third-day in a row the commonwealth has reported more than 1,300 new cases. The city of Philadelphia is also reporting rising case counts. Young adults are fueling the current increases, but health officials are worried a surge in vulnerable older populations will follow.

As schools in the Philly-area continue virtual schooling, the divide between students and families with access to technology and internet and those who don’t is widening. And not every school district is able to respond to the need in the same way. Some schools are able to provide laptops for every child, but others just don’t have the funds. And many students, even if they are issued a computer, don’t have access to the internet at home. Responding to these needs has been a challenge for schools.

Helpful resources

You got this: Handle darker days and sadder moods

It’s fall, and winter is coming with darker days. You might be having your own “sad girl fall” already, but sadder moods during this time of year are more than aesthetics. Health experts say that any sense of melancholy is normal, especially in the middle of a pandemic, due to the lack of sunlight. Being aware of how the season affects your mood as well as monitoring your eating habits can go a long way.

💉 Getting a flu shot is even more important during the pandemic. Here’s how.

👐 Missing touch in your life? So are we. Here’s what to do about it.

🍻 Pumpkins are back in season, and so we have a list of locally brewed pumpkin beers to try.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at health@inquirer.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

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