City of Philadelphia Press Briefing – June 4, 2020

From The City of Philadelphia, live video here:

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 121 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 23,281.

The Department of Public Health noted continued progress in congregate settings, including nursing homes and the Department of Prisons. One additional symptomatic incarcerated individual has tested positive. Testing of asymptomatic incarcerated individuals is ongoing. Current and cumulative totals of positive cases in Philadelphia prisons are posted on the testing and data page of the City’s COVID-19 website.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 70 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 1,394. Of the 1,394 total deaths, 739 (53%) were long-term care facility residents.

Safer at Home (Yellow Phase): Health Commissioner Dr. Farley confirmed that Philadelphia would proceed to the Yellow Phase of reopening on Friday, June 5. “Based on the metrics that we announced last week, I am cautiously recommending that Philadelphia begin to restart the economy using a phased, slow plan,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Farley. “The Safer at Home plan announced on Friday is the safest way to try to get people back to work but to do it in a way that will allow us to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s imperative that Philadelphians continue to follow the guidance that has reduced the number of new cases to a level we haven’t seen in months: stay at home if you can, wear a mask whenever you’ll be around others, stay six feet away from others, and wash your hands often.”

The City’s Safer at Home plan and executive order outlines how Philadelphia will begin to reopen for business when the current Stay-at-Home Order is lifted on Friday, June 5, 2020. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health continues to advise residents that they are “safer at home,” and should only leave to engage in essential activities.

Lower-risk activities permitted to operate within certain parameters during the Safer-at-Home Order (Yellow Phase) include:

  • Restaurants (including food trucks and walk-up ordering; no dine-in service; no outdoor dining until June 12)
  • Retail businesses (curbside and delivery are strongly encouraged)
  • Child care centers
  • Outdoor youth day camps and recreation
  • Outdoor parks-related amenities
  • Office-based businesses (telework still required whenever feasible)
  • Consumer banking
  • Automobile sales
  • Real estate activities
  • Manufacturing
  • Warehouse operations

Continued Precautions: As they restart, businesses will be required by the Safer-at-Home Order to follow a safety checklist of operations called “Safe Mode” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional recommendations for different types of businesses and activities are detailed in a separate set of industry-specific guidelines available here.

Outdoor dining will be able to resume for businesses that are currently licensed for such activities beginning June 12, under specific guidance that is still being developed by the City and within their existing footprint. That guidance and an application process to expand opportunities for businesses not currently licensed for outdoor dining will be made available.

City Government Operations: The City will implement a “Safe Return to Work” program as it brings employees back to work in a phased manner, based on a prioritized schedule that aligns with City and State guidelines while minimizing the potential for the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Starting Monday, June 8, public-facing City services will commence in phases.

New Guidance for COVID-19 Testing for Protestors: Because of the large number of people that have participated in protest activities in Philadelphia, the Department of Public Health believes that there may be an increased likelihood that participants may have been exposed to COVID-19. Those who were at or near a protest—even if they wore a mask—should follow these recommendations to combat the spread of the virus:

  • Monitor for symptoms like new-onset fever, cough, or shortness of breath for fourteen days.
  • Try to stay away from other people for fourteen days; if you can’t stay at home, be sure to wear a mask properly and try to stay at least six feet from others.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 seven days after having been in a crowd; those seeking testing do NOT need to identify that they were at a protest but instead should say they were near someone who may have had COVID-19.

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 recommending COVID-19 coronavirus testing for anyone, regardless of age, who meets this criteria:

  • Known or suspected exposure within the last seven days.
  • A new cough, 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.

COVID-19 Resources:

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