PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Wednesday afternoon 360 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 1,675. Of the 360 new cases, 74 were previously reported by the State, but the county of residence was not known at the time. Those 74 are now counted as Philadelphia cases.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said of the 528 confirmed Philadelphia cases for which race/ethnicity has been reported, 46 percent are African American, 37 percent are White, 10 percent are Hispanic, and 3 percent are Asian. “I want to emphasize that this virus does not discriminate,” said Dr. Farley. “Every racial and ethnic group, indeed every person in this city is at risk. We all need to be very serious about social distancing and other recommendations to keep residents healthy and slow the spread of the virus.”
The Health Department confirmed one additional fatality in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 15.
The City also announced today that additional food distribution sites will open tomorrow on Thursday, April 2, bringing the total number of City-supported food sites to 40. At these sites, residents of all ages can pick up a box of food (one box per household) on Mondays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and noon. Residents do not have to present ID or proof of income.
An up-to-date list of sites is available on the City’s website. All sites listed will offer free food on Thursday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to noon. This effort is a partnership with the community-based sites, as well as Philabundance and Share Food Program. The public is encouraged to verify sites by calling 311 or visiting phila.gov. On Monday, March 30—the first day of distribution—20 food sites distributed 4,000 boxes of food.
In addition, the City, School District, and partners 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.
“Food access is an urgent issue for families affected by school closures, loss of income, and other challenges caused by COVID-19,” said Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa. “We are so grateful to all of the partners, staff, and volunteers who have stepped up during this difficult time to establish over 120 food and student meal sites where Philadelphians can get free food.”
People who would like to support food access in Philadelphia are encouraged to continue making contributions to Philabundance and SHARE, including volunteering their time to distribute food. Go to sharefoodprogram.org, philabundance.org, or serve.volunteermatch.org to learn more.
Additional resources can also be found at whyhunger.org/find-food/ and communityresourceconnects.org. Individuals may also call WhyHunger at 1(800) 5-HUNGRY, or text their zip code to 1(800) 548-6479 to find food near them.
Mayor Kenney reminded residents that today, April 1, is Census Day and encouraged everyone to complete the 2020 Census. Philadelphia relies on a complete and accurate census count for political representation in Congress and funding needed to support critical services such as health care, schools, transportation, public safety, and other essential programs. The results of the 2020 Census will impact how much federal funding Philadelphia gets for the next decade.
The Philly Counts team previously planned to spend much of Census Day reminding all Philadelphians of the importance of participating in the census. Because planned face-to-face outreach cannot take place, the City is relying on email, social media, and word of mouth to get the word out. Philly Counts has created an online toolkit so that residents can help spread awareness about census completion. The online toolkit can be accessed at bit.ly/CensusAtHome (case sensitive).
All Philadelphia residents are encouraged to complete the census for their household online at 2020census.gov or by mail when forms are distributed.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 virus and its economic fallout, Philadelphia’s participation in the census is all the more important,” said Mayor Kenney. “It can be hard to find motivation since so many of our daily routines have been switched up, but we really want Philadelphians to complete the census since it will have a direct impact on Philadelphia’s schools, health care, and other public services we use every single day.”
The Mayor also reminded Philadelphians that Tuesday, June 2 is the new date for Pennsylvania’s Presidential Primary Election. May 18 is the last day to register to vote before the primary, and May 26 is the last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot. Mail-in ballots are now allowed for the Presidential Primary Election. For the latest information, visit PhiladelphiaVotes.com.
Multi-faith Prayer Service: Clergy leaders of POWER, in collaboration with Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, have organized a multi-faith virtual prayer service, taking place tomorrow, Thursday, April 2, at 2 p.m. This service will be conducted on Zoom with a simultaneous feed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/powerinterfaith/. It will be recorded for those who cannot join in at that time. For press inquiries, contact Emilie Haertsch, Director of Communications for POWER, at [email protected].
SEPTA Update: Starting today, April 1, SEPTA has implemented the following measures to fight the spread of COVID-19:
Rear-Door Boarding on Buses and Trolleys: SEPTA will implement rear-door boarding on all bus and trolley routes. All customers will be asked to board and exit from the rear doors. Front-door boarding will be reserved for riders with disabilities. Rear-door boarding is being implemented to further promote social distancing on-board vehicles. To maintain a safe distance between operators and passengers, SEPTA is suspending on-board fare payment.
Rider Limits: To ensure there is enough space on-board vehicles for customers to practice social distancing, SEPTA will limit the number of riders per-vehicle on buses, trolleys, and the Norristown High Speed Line:
- Bus: Maximum 20 riders
- Trolley: Maximum 25 riders
- Norristown High Speed Line: Maximum 30 riders
Operators will keep track of the number of people on-board each vehicle. If a vehicle reaches the maximum number of passengers, service will be limited to drop-offs until there is enough space to allow new riders to board.
Changes to Routes 101 and 102 Trolley Service: To maximize available resources, SEPTA will convert the Route 101 Trolley to bus service and suspend the Route 102 Trolley. Riders can find bus alternatives to the Route 102 on SEPTA’s website at https://www.septa.org.
- 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 [email protected].
- 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.
- Additional resources for businesses can be found here.