PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced nine additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 18.
The City is awaiting test results on 70 other cases, but Dr. Farley noted that as more labs begin testing, there are likely to be more people with COVID-19 infection in Philadelphia than previously recognized. In addition, Health Department staff are working with 114 people who have been exposed to people with this infection to monitor for symptoms.
Also today, the City released the Mayor’s and Health Commissioner’s Emergency Order that authorizes the restrictions on business activity announced Monday. The order specifies categories of retail, infrastructure, industrial, healthcare, and social service businesses that are deemed essential. It also specifies restrictions on working from offices. The order can be viewed or downloaded here. Residents and business owners can also view a plain-language summary of the restrictions here.
“The restrictions we announced yesterday are difficult but necessary, and I can tell you that the great majority of folks have been understanding and cooperative,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are working very hard to balance the importance of vital health precautions with the desire to continue life, including business activity, as much as possible.
“We are also working very hard to answer the enormous number of questions that businesses and residents have about what should be open, and what should close,” said the Mayor. “I also want to thank our city workers who are continuing to perform their duties in the midst of this pandemic. I am confident that we as a city will pull through this, because we are strong, and we are resilient.”
Business owners or managers who have questions about the order and restrictions can email email@example.com. Residents or employees who believe a business is in violation of these restrictions are urged to contact 311. Restaurants may operate under the order solely to provide food through online, delivery, pickup, or walk-in ordering. Dine-in service is strictly prohibited.
Violations of the restrictions would result in warnings or citations. “We understand that this is going to take some time to get used to,” said Managing Director Brian Abernathy. “We’re encouraging folks to shut down on their own. I believe in Philadelphians, and I believe people are going to shut down voluntarily.”
Residents with medical questions can call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. The Helpline, free and available 24/7, is staffed by trained health professionals and is for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the public and healthcare providers, to help answer questions about COVID-19.
Residents can get COVID-19 updates sent to their phones. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive free alerts with information and updates from the Health Department. Information is also being updated daily on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s webpage www.phila.gov/covid-19.
Notes to media: City officials will continue to update the press every day at 1:00 p.m. in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall. It will be livestreamed via the Department of Public Health’s twitter account, @PHLPublicHealth, and broadcast on PHLGovTV, Comcast channels 64 and 1164, and Verizon channels 40 and 41.
Due to the volume of press requests related to COVID-19, members of the media are asked to hold all City-related questions for those daily briefings. Emailed press questions should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.