PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 225 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 21,234.
The Department of Public Health noted continued progress in congregate settings, including nursing homes and the Department of Prisons. No additional incarcerated individuals have tested positive. The current total of positive cases at correctional facilities is three. Current and cumulative totals of positive cases in Philadelphia prisons are now posted on the testing and data page of the City’s COVID-19 website.
The Department of Public Health confirmed 12 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 1,233. Of the 1,233 total deaths, 654 (53%) were long-term care facility residents.
The Department of Public Health reports 537 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 1,041 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).
Stay at Home Order: Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley noted that today, March 23, marks two months since Philadelphia’s Stay at Home Order first took effect. “The last two months have been something that no public health official has ever wanted to see,” Dr. Farley said. “But while we have lost far too many of our loved ones, the COVID-19 pandemic has not hit us as hard as we feared. Recent models have shown that, through the actions of everyday Philadelphians, we have saved thousands of lives. In the next two months I hope that we will continue to follow the lessons we learned: give six feet of distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands.”
The Stay at Home Order remains in effect. Details can be found here.
Response to Governor Wolf’s Announcement: Both Mayor Kenney and Dr. Farley issued statements Friday afternoon in response to Governor Wolf’s announcement yesterday that Philadelphia will move to a ‘yellow’ phase on June 5. Those statements can be found here.
Mail-In Ballot Application Deadline: Because of the continued need for social distancing, Mayor Kenney urges all residents to use mail-in ballots for the upcoming primary election on June 2, 2020. The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is this coming Tuesday, May 26, at 5 p.m. Although polling places will be open on June 2, voting by mail will help reduce transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the number of voters gathering at polling places.
Residents can apply online for a mail-in ballot before that deadline here. A valid Pa. Driver’s License or PennDOT ID number is required. Residents can also download a ballot application, however a printed application must be received in the Board of Elections Office by Tuesday at 5 p.m., irrespective of postmarks.
Emergency Cash Assistance Program Still Open: The State’s Emergency Cash Assistance Program, which opened on May 11, still has funding available for Philadelphians who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. The program is for families with children who were working and experienced the loss of a job or income. Families whose income is below 150 percent of the federal poverty level—about $2,700 a month for a family of three—are eligible. Families that qualify will be able to get a one-time grant of approximately $400-$1,200, based on their family size.
Despite the jump in unemployment throughout the state, funding for the program has not yet been exhausted. Applications will be accepted through June 12—or until all funds are gone. Those in need should not wait. Residents can apply online.
On a related note, the state Department Human Services reports that applications for state-issued benefits have not increased above pre-pandemic levels. For residents who have experienced job loss or pay cuts in the wake of COVID-19, these programs can provide much-needed help to get through this difficult time. Available benefits include:
- Medicaid: Free or very low-cost health insurance
- SNAP: Up to $650/month for a family of four
- Cash: Up to $500/month for a family of four
- Utility bill help: Maximum benefit of $800
Residents can apply online for these benefits at the state’s online application at compass.state.pa.us. If you need help applying for benefits, call the City’s BenePhilly program at 833-373-5868. More information can be found here.
Memorial Day Press Schedule: The City will not be holding a COVID-19 press conference during Memorial Day weekend. The next press release will be issued on Monday, May 25. Weekday press conferences will resume on Tuesday, May 26.
Media Tip Sheet: Need more story ideas? Check out this month’s media tip sheet.
Testing Site Map: A new testing site finder at phila.gov/testing helps people find a free COVID-19 test in Philadelphia. Anyone can search for a site by address, click on a map location for specific site information, and filter by day of week and by drive-thru or walk-up.
Each of the testing sites has its own requirements, and that information is included for each location on the map. For example, some sites require referrals, appointments, or certain criteria for patients. No sites require payment, insurance, or proof of citizenship. Residents are strongly encouraged to call first for an appointment or referral; all necessary phone numbers are available on the map.
The finder is available in six languages, and the map will continue to be updated as new testing sites are opened.
Expanded Testing Standards: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is now recommending COVID-19 coronavirus testing for anyone regardless of age who has a new cough, is experiencing new shortness of breath, or two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, new loss of taste or smell. The expansion of testing recommendations comes as a result of the increasing availability of coronavirus testing at public health and commercial laboratories. Increased testing for the coronavirus is a key part of the City’s and Pennsylvania’s plan to re-open safely. More details can be found here.
- City’s COVID-19 homepage: phila.gov/covid-19.
- COVID-19 resources translated into multiple languages.
- Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline: 1 (800) 722-7112.
- Residents can text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to get updates sent to their phones.
- 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:
- Financial support and additional resources for businesses can be found here.
- 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.
- L&I requirements for resuming construction activity in Philadelphia.
- The City is extending filing and payment dates for Real Estate and some business taxes.
Resources for Media: