Sunday, February 25

Philly’s indoor mask mandates return; Officials indict 14 for illegally trafficking guns to Philadelphia


THE RUNDOWN:

one. Philadelphia mask mandate to be reinstated April 18 amid rising COVID-19 case counts

PHILADELPHIA -Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health announced the reinstatement of the city’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces on Monday after a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Last week, the Philadelphia Department of Health said coronavirus cases increased by more than 50% in a ten-day span in the city where there’s now an average of 142 new cases per day, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.

“This looks like we may be at the start of a new COVID wave like Europe just saw,” she said.

While hospitalizations remain low, Bettigole says Philadelphia no longer meets the threshold for the All Clear tier.

The increase in cases moves Philadelphia from the All Clear tier to the Mask Precautions level, requiring masks to be worn indoors, including in schools and day cares.

Bettigole says a one-week education period will be given to get the word out about the mandate before enforcement begins on April 18.

The guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has helped city officials with setting the timing for mandates, but the agency changed course in recent months, saying most Americans can safely take a break from wearing masks.

two. Officials announce charges in connection with illegal trafficking of nearly 400 guns to the Philadelphia area

PHILADELPHIA – Federal authorities say nearly 400 guns purchased in southern states and illegally trafficked into the Philadelphia area have been seized in two interstate gun trafficking cases.

According to officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 14 people were charged in the indictment for illegally selling guns from southern states to people in Philadelphia.

ATF officials say they met with multiple agencies in April 2021 to come up with a plan to combat rising crime in Philadelphia, including violent carjackings.

Authorities say Frederick Norman, Brianna Walker, Stephen Norman, Charles O’Bannon, Devin Church, Roger Millington, Ernest Payton, Kenneth Burgos, Edwin Burgos, Roselmy Rodriguez and Brianna Reed were charged in connection with the first trafficking case in Georgia.

Additionally, officials say three people were charged in the second case involving guns trafficked from South Carolina.

According to ATF, most guns used in Philadelphia homicides come from outside the city.

3. Community leader shot during Oxford Circle carjacking

27-year-old community leader Raheem Bell was shot during a carjacking near his home, police say.

OXFORD CIRCLE – A leader in a Northeast Philadelphia community is fighting for his life after a brutal carjacking and shooting in Oxford Circle Sunday morning.

The Oxford Circle community is praying and hoping for 27-year-old Raheem Bell, who is in critical condition at the hospital.

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“He has a beautiful family and comes from a wonderful home and we just want the violence to stop,” said block captain Nneka Burnett.

Burnett said Bell and his family are well known and loved in their neighborhood.

Four. Weather Authority: Monday starts chilly ahead of afternoon warmup

PHILADELPHIA – Residents in the Delaware Valley are waking up to chilly conditions and a Frost Advisory is in effect until 9 am

Parts of Pennsylvania are seeing early morning temperatures in the low to mid-30s.

Conditions will warm up in the afternoon and be pleasant aside from the pollen.

FOX 29’s Sue Serio says tree pollen is high, grass pollen is moderate and mold remains low.

By noon, temperatures will be in the upper 50s and by 5 pm, temperatures will rise to the 60s in some areas.

5. 76ers’ Thybulle not fully vaccinated, can’t play in Toronto

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 07: Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center on March 7, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 121-106. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty

PHILADELPHIA – Matisse Thybulle took a seat, took a breath and took a moment to explain why he made a choice — one the Philadelphia 76ers defensive specialist admitted he tried to keep hidden — not to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Thybulle’s choice will cost him playing time in the postseason, and could cost the Sixers their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against Toronto.

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Thybulle is barred from Canada because unvaccinated foreign nationals are currently prohibited from entering the country and limited exemptions to the rule no longer apply to professional athletes.

Thybulle’s situation first became known last week when he was suddenly listed as “ineligible to play” on the NBA injury report on Philadelphia’s most recent trip to Toronto.

Thybulle broke his silence Sunday once the Sixers clinched the No. 4 seed and were matched up against the fifth-seeded Raptors. The Sixers will play at least Games 3 and 4 of the series in Toronto. Game 1 is Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

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