March 6, 2020

PHILADELPHIA–The City of Philadelphia today announced that it is ready to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus and is actively planning with partners to ensure that the response is appropriate and timely.

Officials from the Managing Director’s Office, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Office of Emergency Management, SEPTA, and the Philadelphia International Airport provided updates on the situation around the world and in Philadelphia, including actions taken to protect and prepare the public. The Health Department reports that there is one person under investigation for COVID-19 coronavirus and there are no confirmed cases in Philadelphia.

Watch the press conference which includes American Sign Language interpretation.

“We are fortunate that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus here in Philadelphia as of right now,” said Mayor Kenney. “We’re monitoring the situation with our state, regional, and local partners and receiving and distributing CDC guidance. We regularly work with our hospital and health care community to prepare for this type of situation, so we’re confident that—if we get a case—our response will be ready and appropriate.”

The Health Department has been conducting aggressive patient identification and contact tracing since January to ensure that any people that do test positive are limited in their ability to spread the disease. Being able to identify cases early and implement isolation of sick people and quarantine those exposed is the best way to prevent the spread of the disease. The City has also been working with the healthcare community, partners, and organizations that may have to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus throughout the response to ensure that they have the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the City of Philadelphia.

Dr. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner, said, “If we can quickly identify cases of the coronavirus and effectively isolate those who are sick with it, we can slow the spread of the disease. We encourage anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 coronavirus, either from a person who is already infected with it or by traveling to an area where it’s spreading, and has a fever or a dry cough to contact your doctor about getting tested. If you haven’t traveled or been around someone who has COVID-19 coronavirus but have these symptoms, you should stay away from other people to avoid spreading whatever illness you might have.”

The World Health Organization reports that more than 100,000 cases of the disease have been recorded around the world, with more than 3,400 deaths. The CDC reports 164 cases in the U.S., with 11 deaths. Governor Wolf announced earlier today that Pennsylvania recorded its first two presumptive positive cases today.

The Health Department maintains a website on COVID-19 coronavirus that is constantly updated with the latest guidance, recommendations and resources for Philadelphians interested in learning more about the coronavirus and keeping themselves and others safe.

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