PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 84 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 890, 78 of whom are or have been hospitalized. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley cautions that two testing laboratories are not sending reports over the weekend, so this total is likely to be an underreporting.
The Health Department confirmed four additional fatalities in Philadelphia, all in their 70s and 80s. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to eight.
Three of the four fatalities reported in the past day were nursing home residents, and five of the eight total fatalities. To safeguard the privacy of those involved, the City is not confirming the location of any nursing home cases.
“In other cities in the U.S., we have seen that nursing homes are particularly susceptible to outbreaks of COVID-19,” Dr. Farley said, “and we’re starting to see that here in Philadelphia. This is why it is of critical importance that nursing homes across the city and region immediately take action to protect their residents and staff by banning all visitors, requiring all staff to wear masks, and regularly screening staff for symptoms. These efforts can save lives and should be implemented immediately.”
The City’s COVID-19 website now has a map showing positive cases by zip code and a chart of positive and negative test results. Results are updated daily, however test results might take several days to process.
Preparation of the Liacouras Center is underway. On Saturday federal partners (the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Health and Human Services) delivered equipment to the Liacouras Center. The shipment included basic patient support equipment such as cots, commodes, walkers, bathing equipment, monitoring equipment, and more. The equipment can support up to 250 people.
Members of the Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PA-TF1, made up of first responders from the Philadelphia Fire Department and across the region) and Liacouras Center staff began setting up yesterday and that work continues today. They made substantial progress in a short period of time; photos and a time-lapse video of the set-up are available here.
The defined use and management of the site has not been determined at this time. It could be used to care for COVID-19 patients or to relocate low-acuity patients from area hospitals to open more beds at those facilities.
Expanded Food Access: Beginning tomorrow, Monday March 30, 2020, 20 community food sites will provide free food to residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Residents can pick up a box of food (one box per household) on Mondays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and noon at sites throughout the city. This effort is a partnership with the community-based sites, as well as Philabundance and Share Food Program. In addition, the City, School District, and partners will continue to operate student meal sites at over 80 locations citywide. A full list and interactive map of food sites and student meal sites are available on the City’s website. Additional food distribution sites will be announced.
SEPTA will reduce Regional Rail to an “Essential Service Schedule” starting today. Here is a summary of the changes:
Service on most lines will run every two hours
Airport Line service will run every hour
Twelve of the 13 Regional Rail lines will operate seven days a week; Cynwyd Line service will operate Monday through Friday
Starting tomorrow Monday, March 30, SEPTA will suspend overnight service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines between 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. to give crews additional time for cleaning amid the COVID-19 crisis. More details at septa.org.
The Community Based Testing Site at Citizens Bank Park is open today from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. If early closure of the site is necessary, it will be announced on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Twitter page @PHLPublicHealth and through the COVIDPHL text alert system.
Philly 311 is operating on extended hours this weekend, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Residents can dial 3-1-1 for help with COVID-19 related questions or to file regular service requests. Representatives are able to take calls in over 100 languages.
Avoid COVID-19 Scams:
- Census scam: The City has received reports that some people are knocking on doors pretending to be Census takers and asking for donations. Please be aware that official Census workers will not be knocking on doors until after May 7, 2020, and they will never ask for donations.
- Price gouging – when companies or businesses overcharge for goods – is always a concern in times like this. Top products like cleaning supplies and bottled water are most likely to be price gouged. Philadelphians who think this is happening should email the State Attorney General’s office at email@example.com. You should provide the name and location of the store and the specific product in question. A photo of the product and price is helpful too.
- COVID-19 phishing emails. Scam emails about COVID-19 that impersonate organizations, like health or charity organizations, are becoming more frequent. These scam emails mimic or hide their identities so they can steal your login and password to infect your computer and network with malware. Use caution when opening attachments or links in emails unless you double check that they’re from a trusted source.
- City’s COVID-19 homepage: phila.gov/covid-19.
- COVID-19 resources translated in multiple languages.
- Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline: 1 (800) 722-7112.
- Residents can text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to get updates sent to their phones.
- Citizens Bank Community-Based Testing Site is operational daily pending inclement weather. Find out more about testing for COVID-19.
- Updates and guidance for Philadelphia employees and employers.
- Information and resources for workers.
- The PHL COVID-19 Fund continues to solicit donations to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic.
- For Businesses:
- 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.
- L&I guidance on construction work following City Business Activity and Stay at Home Order.
- The City is extending filing and payment dates for Real Estate and some business taxes.
- Applications for the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund are now being accepted. Additional resources for businesses can be found here.
Resources for Media: