PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 1,223 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 81,708. In addition, the Department of Public Health also announced 111 new probable cases from rapid antigen tests.
The Department of Public Health confirmed six additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 2,141. Of the 2,141 total deaths, 958 (45%) were long-term care facility residents.
The Department of Public Health reports 920 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 113 on ventilators.
Vaccine Distribution: This week, Philadelphia hospitals began taking delivery of the first COVID vaccine. Many hospitals have received their first allotment of vaccines on Monday or Tuesday, and the rest will receive it on Wednesday. The city received 13,650 doses in this first allotment. Hospitals have been advised to begin vaccinating their staff as soon as they are able, and some may be doing so today. Phase 1a of vaccine distribution includes healthcare workers and nursing home residents.
Health Department staff have reviewed the safety and efficacy data published from the Phase 3 trials and found the Pfizer vaccine to be safe and highly effective. Preliminary review of the Moderna vaccine trial data, which is expected to be given Emergency Use Authorization this week, found similar results: it is safe and highly effective.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “This is a stunning achievement, that scientists developed a vaccine so quickly and it looks so safe and effective. I see this as a turning point in the pandemic. In general, I consider vaccines to be the greatest discovery in medicine. I am very hopeful that this and other vaccines can ultimately end this pandemic, just as vaccines were able to control smallpox, polio, and measles.”
Additional Funding Allocated for Small Business Relief: Last week, City Council approved a new commitment of $7 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to aid Philadelphia small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) that the City received from the U.S. Treasury. The CARES Act authorized payment of these funds to states, local governments with populations of 500,000 or more, and tribal governments.
The $7 million has been pledged to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. This new funding, which will be used to provide grants for some of the Philadelphia-based applicants who still remained unfunded by the Commonwealth’s program, is expected to support approximately 400 additional local businesses. The City previously dedicated $30 million in CRF funding to the Commonwealth’s business relief program. To-date, the City has directed nearly $110 million in government, philanthropic, and private funding to support Philadelphia’s small businesses and nonprofits.
PHLConnectED Week:The City is hosting PHLConnectED Week through this Friday, December 18. We kicked off the week yesterday with an announcement about expanded eligibility for the program. Learn more in the press release.
Adult Education Services: The City announced today that it is launching enrollment for free, online adult education classes. Classes include:
- Reading, writing, and math
- GED and HiSET test preparation
- Basic computer skills
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
The Office of Children and Families has partnered with several community-based providers to provide the classes through a centralized enrollment and referral process. To enroll, residents should visit phila.gov/adult-education to find the campus closest to them, and call to speak with a learning coach who will help learners enroll in the right class for their schedule, goals, and skill level.
Testing Site Map: A 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.
- 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.
- Businesses with questions about how to comply with the City’s restrictions should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The PHL COVID-19 Fund continues to solicit donations to aid nonprofits that are on the frontline of the pandemic.
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