The city delivered an update on local impact and response to the rapid spread of coronavirus this afternoon.
As of 8:15 a.m. there are 18 confirmed cases of the virus in Philadelphia, double yesterday’s figure. An additional 70 people have test results pending, and 114 people were identified as being at medium or high risk after having contact with someone who is confirmed to have the virus. They are being monitored or in the process of being monitored at home, said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
There are confirmed 63 cases throughout the state, 30 of which are in Montgomery County. Seven are in Delaware County, and five are in Bucks County.
More than 200 Philadelphians were tested at rapid virus testing sites being set up at medical facilities including University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Currently, there are no such sites set up in Northeast Philadelphia, but Farley said they are working to open more sites by the end of the week.
Authorities would not specify which areas of the city had confirmed cases.
“You should assume it’s everywhere,” Farley said.
The most common symptoms of the virus are fever and dry cough, with each symptom appearing in 70% of confirmed cases in China. The next-most common symptom is fatigue, similar to having the flu.
Farley urged individuals to get testing only if they are experiencing symptoms. Symptoms can take three to four days to appear, and before they do, it is possible the test will come back as a false negative.
“Even if you were exposed two days earlier you may still be incubating the infection,” he said.
Symptoms such as runny nose or sore throat appear in a small fraction of cases, so Farley urged individuals to not think they have the virus if those are the only symptoms they have.
Yesterday, Mayor Jim Kenney urged all nonessential businesses to shut down. Small businesses with questions can contact email@example.com.
SEPTA will reduce services by 25% in light of significant ridership loss throughout the entire system and as a way to protect its employees. Scott Sauer of SEPTA said this may change as conditions develop, and urged riders to stay informed on SEPTA’s website, app and Twitter feed, twitter.com/SEPTA.
Residential parking time limits will not be enforced, effective now, said Scott Petri of the Philadelphia Parking Authority. He urged car owners to be respectful to other drivers and to not park their cars for extensive amounts of time near areas such as food stores or medical providers.
Petri also urged drivers not to threaten public safety or delay emergency services by double parking, parking in loading zones or blocking entrances and crosswalks.
Since schools were shut down, the city has distributed more than 5,000 meals to children at activity spaces set up.
Up to two meals for youths are available at these local schools Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon:
- A.L. FitzPatrick, 11061 Knights Road
- Benjamin Franklin, 5737 Rising Sun Ave.
- William H. Loesche, 595 Tomlinson Road
- Mayfair, 3001 Princeton Ave.
- Solomon Solis-Cohen, 7001 Horrocks St.
- Allen M. Stearne, 1655 Unity St.
- James J. Sullivan, 5300 Ditman St.
Farley reiterated methods to stay healthy such as social distancing (remaining at least 6 feet away) from other people, washing your hands and avoiding touching your face.
More than 50,000 have signed up for text alerts by texting COVIDPHL TO 888777. Kenney urged residents who haven’t to do so to receive frequent updates.