PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia today announced that a resident ill with COVID-19 coronavirus has died, the first fatality from the coronavirus in Philadelphia. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the resident was in his fifties and had underlying medical issues. To safeguard the privacy of the victim and family, no other details are being released.
“We are all deeply saddened by this news,” said Mayor Kenney. “Our prayers are with the family and loved ones at this difficult time. The death of this resident is a reminder of the extremely serious nature of this pandemic. The unfortunate reality is that there will likely be more deaths as the number of cases grow. Which is why our Stay at Home order is essential. This virus is very real, and deadly. So when we tell residents to stay at home, to avoid even small gatherings on the street corner, we are not messing around.”
Dr. Farley also announced 93 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 342. Among the total number of cases are City workers, including members of the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Department. For privacy reasons, the City will not be providing further details of those cases.
Dr. Farley said the City is issuing new guidelines for residents who have recently been in New York City, given the federal self-quarantine guideline issued Tuesday. “We want to limit as much as possible the spread of infection among people who have traveled between the two places,” said Dr. Farley. “So the City today is posting recommendations that if you have traveled to the metropolitan New York City area in the previous 14 days, you must go into self-quarantine for 14 days. That means you are particularly vigilant about staying inside for that 14-day period.”
Also today, Mayor Kenney praised the agreement in Congress on a federal COVID-19 aid package. “We are particularly pleased with the provisions for worker protections and what appears to be a dramatic extension of unemployment benefits,” said the Mayor. “I hope this measure alone brings some comfort and hope to Philadelphians who have already lost their jobs or who face that prospect because of the virus.
“I’m very pleased to see that some of this package includes direct aid to cities and counties. It’s extremely important that these dollars get to cities as expeditiously as possible. There’s a lot more in this package, and our team is still pouring over the details. But at first glance, I can tell you that this package is a significant step toward ensuring that all Americans — including Philadelphians — are able to weather the economic hardships that this pandemic will bring”
Testing: Due to inclement weather, the City’s testing at Citizens Bank Park was suspended to ensure the safety of staff. Testing is expected to resume Thursday, March 26 at 1 p.m. The site, operated in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, is strictly limited at this time to either people who are over 50 years of age AND are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, or healthcare workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with the virus.
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.
The City is extending filing and payment dates for Real Estate and some business taxes. The City will honor the federal extensions granted to businesses from the IRS for filing and payments until July 15, 2020 for the Business Income and Receipts Tax and the Net Profits Tax. This policy includes estimated payments.
For commercial and residential property owners who are unable to pay their Real Estate Tax by March 31, the Department of Revenue has extended the deadline to pay an additional 30 days. The due date for 2020 Real Estate Taxes is now April 30, 2020. The deadline to apply for an installment payment plan for 2020 Real Estate Tax has also been extended until April 30, 2020. These plans have always been available to all seniors and low-income homeowners. Taxpayers who can file and pay their taxes by April 15, 2020 are strongly encouraged to do so. This will help ensure continuity of City and School District operations.
Resources for Businesses: Applications for the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund are now being accepted. The fund is a tiered program providing targeted support for small businesses impacted by the spread of COVID-19 and resulting business closures. It offers a mix of new grants and zero-interest loans for businesses that make under $5 million in annual revenue.
Additional resources for businesses can be found here. The City will also continue to explore additional relief options for businesses of all sizes that are made available through the state and federal government, as well as other sources.
Business owners or managers who have questions about the restrictions in the City’s latest Business Activity and Stay at Home Order can email email@example.com. 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. Residents or employees who believe a business is in violation of current restrictions are urged to contact 311.
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).
Resources for workers have been added to the phila.gov/covid-19 page. A blog post will be updated with additional resources as they become available. The post includes a survey for workers affected by COVID-19 to gain more information about the impact.
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.
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.