PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health Tuesday announced 577 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 13,445.
The Department of Public Health again noted clusters of positive cases in congregate settings, including nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and the Department of Prisons. Eight additional inmates have tested positive. The current total of positive cases at correctional facilities is 71.
The Department of Public Health confirmed 32 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 516. Of the 516 total deaths, 288 (56%) were long-term care facility residents.
The Department of Public Health reports 1,001 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 1,856 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).
Construction Activity: Mayor Jim Kenney today said that with some limited exceptions, construction projects that were subject to the State Shutdown Order on March 20 will be allowed to resume in Philadelphia this Friday, May 1. This decision comes in light of the earlier announcement by Governor Wolf that construction business in Pennsylvania can resume on Friday.
“We are currently reviewing that order with respect to construction work in Philadelphia, and we will have more details tomorrow on the extent to which work can return in the city,” said the Mayor. “Construction managers and workers will have to consistently follow practices that keep their workers and the community safe. I’m confident that this will prove to be a much-needed boost to economic activity in the city. And I’m equally confident that everyone involved will be vigilant about adhering to these safe procedures and protocols as this work resumes.”
Mayor Kenney also urged residents to dispose of masks, gloves and wipes properly. “We are seeing a large increase in the amount of PPE and other items being discarded through people flushing these items down the toilet,” said the Mayor. “This is taking a toll on our water treatment infrastructure and residents’ private property.”
Nineteen of the Philadelphia Water Department’s pumping stations have been impacted by PPE waste, including gloves, masks, and wipes. The Water Department is seeing 12 times more infrastructure clogging waste at facilities than normal. Department officials are now reporting 100 pounds a month compared to the usual 100 pounds a year. This sudden influx threatens waterways and the various species living in them, and directly contributes to a notable increase in the likelihood of water main breaks.
Masks, gloves, and wipes should be properly disposed of in the trash. They should not be left on the ground, dropped into sewer inlets, or flushed down toilets. Additionally, flushable wipes are not flushable despite the label.
Water Shutoff Extension: In line with other regional utilities, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Water Revenue Bureau have postponed all water shutoffs for residential and commercial customers who are unable to pay their bills through June 1, 2020. This is a 16-day extension of the original postponement period, which prevented delinquent accounts from being shut off through May 15. Customers who cannot pay their bill should apply for help using the application at phila.gov/waterbillhelp.
Testing Sites: A list of available testing sites is provided on the City’s website. Click on “Where Can Someone Get Tested?” The list includes private testing sites being run by hospital systems and other organizations across the city, as well as public testing sites.If individuals are not able to get tested through their medical provider or do not have a medical provider, they can be tested at a public testing site.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, along with the Health Federation of Philadelphia, is working with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in Philadelphia to expand testing capabilities in underserved communities. Recommended criteria for testing eligibility at the sites are:
- Age 50+ and symptomatic.
- People under 50 who are at high risk for severe illness due to chronic conditions and are symptomatic.
- Health care workers (defined broadly) who are symptomatic or are asymptomatic with close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
The City-run location in Center City continues to serve those who are over the age of 50 and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, as well as health care workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus. The site is available by appointment only and a referral is required. Those who meet the criteria and want a test can call (267) 491-5870 to obtain a referral.
- 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 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.