PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced 79 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 175, 21 of whom are health care workers. Fourteen of the 175 confirmed cases are currently hospitalized.
This large increase over Sunday’s total is attributed to a backlog in lab testing; some labs did not report results over the weekend. “Still, this increase represents evidence of further spread of the virus in the City of Philadelphia,” said Dr. Farley. “Our test results reflect spread that happened about 12 days ago, and we have to assume that there’s been quite a good deal of spread since that time until today. So we expect that there are many more people in Philadelphia with this infection now.”
The City, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, is continuing a drive-through site to provide COVID-19 coronavirus testing to identified members of the public. The Community Based Testing Site, located at Citizens Bank Park, will be open daily from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Inclement weather could force the hours to be curtailed.
Since opening on Friday, March 20, 2020, 396 tests have been conducted at the site. Testing is strictly limited at this time to those in either of these two categories:
- People who are over 50 years of age AND are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus.
- Healthcare workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, including:
- Hospital and doctors office staff with direct patient contact
- Nursing home staff with direct patient contact
- People who perform Emergency Medical Services duties
- Home healthcare staff with direct patient contact
For those in either group eligible for testing, entry into the site is only open to people in four-wheel, closed-top, non-commercial, non-recreational vehicles. Walk-ins will not be permitted access to the site.
School Meal Sites: School meal sites and schedules have changed as of today, Monday, March 23. In addition, Parks & Recreation sites are no longer distributing student meals. More details can be found here. Last week, the School District distributed more than 47,000 meals to more than 23,000 students. Parks & Recreation helped distribute another 8,000 meals, bringing the total to more than 55,000 meals.
School District of Philadelphia Updates: In addition to meals, the District will have K-12 Learning Guides available to provide students with opportunities to continue learning during the closure. The guides in various subjects are available online and at the 49 District schools providing meals to students.
The District has also expanded its student and family engagement efforts by adding nine new hotlines in multiple languages so more families can get answers to a range of general questions in their native languages. In addition to the current English-language hotline, hotlines are now available in the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, French, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. The different phone numbers associated with each hotline can also be found at philasd.org.
The hotlines will be staffed with District employees who can answer a range of general questions about the District’s closure as local and state officials try to stem the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Parents and families can also send questions to a new email address—email@example.com.
Business owners or managers who have questions about the restrictions in the City’s latest Business Activity and Stay at Home Order can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents or employees who believe a business is in violation of current restrictions are urged to contact 311. Restaurants may provide food through delivery or pickup, drive-through, and online or phone ordering only. Walk-in ordering and dine-in services are prohibited.
The 2020 Blue Cross Broad Street Run has been postponed to October 4, 2020. Participants who are not able to make the new date have the option to transfer their bib or defer registration until 2021. The normal $15 transfer fee will be waived. Members of the public with questions should visit the Broad Street Run’s FAQ page or email email@example.com.
Parking Restrictions: The Philadelphia Parking Authority reminds drivers that while the Authority is not enforcing kiosk and meter parking violations, they are enforcing and ticketing for safety violations – like blocking fire hydrants or parking in handicapped spaces and loading zones. It is important that people not block any fire hydrants – and not block any loading zones or other restricted parking areas. It is vitally important that motorists park legally and not block access for emergency or other vehicles providing life-sustaining supplies. Unfortunately if they do – they will be towed from fire hydrants and loading zones.
Construction activity: In response to Governor Wolf ordering a shutdown of construction sites in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections has provided details in this post. All construction work must stop by Friday, March 27, 2020 at 5 p.m. unless a waiver has been obtained from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
The PHL COVID-19 Fund, which was launched last week, continues to solicit donations to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic. This fund will deliver grants to nonprofits that are providing urgent resources throughout the Philadelphia region. Individuals and organizations can donate at PHLCOVID19Fund.org.
Residents with questions can call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. The Helpline, free and available 24/7, is staffed by trained healthcare providers and is for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area. Members of the public can call to get help answering all of their questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus.
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.