Number of COVID-19 cases slows while deaths rise

Screenshot of COVID-19 case data from Phila.gov.

There is a slowdown of new cases of coronavirus being reported in Philadelphia, but it’s still too early to assume the pandemic is over, said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

On Thursday, he reported 494 new cases of the infection, a figure lower than the previous few days, which reported 505 on Wednesday, 544 on Tuesday and 539 on Monday. The total number of confirmed cases in the city is 5,271.

“The good news is the growth is slowing, but we absolutely cannot assume it will continue that way,” Farley said.

The virus could always find its way into clustered populations like nursing homes, behavioral health facilities or prisons. There was one new case reported in the city’s prison systems, for a total of 61 confirmed cases. Some inmates who previously had the virus are no longer showing symptoms and are considered recovered, Farley said.

Even though the numbers may be showing stagnation, Farley emphasized it is crucial to continue practicing social distancing. Young people who think the virus will not impact them can still spread it to people who will be affected, Farley reminded.

Mayor Jim Kenney pointed out the number of cases still passed 5,000 in a matter of weeks.

“Let this be a reminder that we are not by any means out of the woods,” he said.

As the case number stagnates, the death count continues to grow. There were 26 new deaths reported yesterday, for a total of 104. Forty-four were in nursing homes and 66 were over the age of 70.

Farley said the death curve will lag behind the number of new cases, so that number is expected to continue to rise.

The city is compiling statistics concerning fatalities. Thirty-eight percent were African American and 24% were white, while 36% remains unknown. Males accounted for 63% of the deaths while females account for 37%.

Northeast Philadelphia ZIP codes account for 1,131, or 21.46%, of the total number of cases, according to data published by the city. This figure has remained stagnant since Tuesday after showing growth from 17.25% early last week.

ZIP code 19111 continues to have the highest number of cases in the Northeast with 192, now tied for fifth-highest in the city, but new data shows that there are 26 confirmed cases in every 10,000 residents. ZIP code 19115 has 45 cases per 10,000 residents, and 19116 has 44 cases per 10,000 residents, the highest in the Northeast. These numbers are tied with or lower than eight other ZIP codes in the city.

Data and interactive tools published by the city can be found here.

The Department of Public Health reporters there are 630 patients with COVID-19 currently being treated in city hospitals, with a total of 1,123 patients in the region. ••