PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania and New Jersey both reached a grim milestone on Saturday surpassing more than 300,000 coronavirus cases since the onset of the pandemic.
Pennsylvania's numbers were boosted by 6,778 new positive infections. The state also announced 112 virus-related deaths. Meanwhile, New Jersey saw cases spike by 4,679 overnight with 34 reported fatalities.
States across the country are grappling with a second wave of new infections as colder weather has helped facilitate transmission following a summertime lull. Health officials in the United States reported a combined 187,000 cases on Friday with the latest data showing an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths.
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Governors have responded to the pandemic surge by tightening restrictions on gatherings and businesses, and strengthening mandates on testing and mask-wearing.
Anyone traveling to Pennsylvania from another state is required to be tested up to 72 hours prior to arrival. If you do not have test results before coming to the state, you need to quarantine until you get a negative result. If you can't get a test or are waiting for results, you must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Under the strengthened mask orders masks are required indoors any time you are with people from outside your household. This also applies if you have people in your home who are not part of your household.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia's new pandemic restrictions shuttered businesses like gyms, theaters and entertainment venues until New Years Day. Indoor dining is no longer allowed, but restaurants can offer outdoor seating with four people per table. Outdoor crowds have been capped at 10% capacity.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has taken a more measured approach to combating the second wave of the virus that decimated the state during the spring. In November, Murphy gave counties and municipalities the power to enact more severe curfews on businesses and restaurants than the state's 10 p.m. mandatory closure. Restaurants in the Garden State are not allowed to operate between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The beefed-up requirements come as schools in both states have shifted to all-virtual learning for various time frames. In Pennsylvania, Montgomery County schools will close for the two-weeks surrounding Thanksgiving in anticipation of holiday spread. On Thursday, Cherry Hill schools said they will move to virtual learning from Nov. 30 until at least Jan. 15.
On Friday, Pfizer announced it submitted an application for emergency use of its highly effective coronavirus vaccine. Should the vaccine receive approval, distribution is expected to begin before the new year. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey rolled out their three-phased plans in anticipation of the groundbreaking vaccine.
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