Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley displayed optimism in reporting that Philadelphia appears to have passed the peak stage. Since the weekend, there have been 302 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number to 12,868 since the beginning of the epidemic. The current total of cases in the city’s correctional facilities is at 68. There have also been 12 additional fatalities, bringing the city’s death toll to 484. Over half (54%) of the deaths were long-term care facility residents. Farley commented on these numbers:
“Now we know we get incomplete reporting from laboratories over the weekend and that includes the numbers today, still when we look at the last couple of weeks, and we look at the cases as they’ve occurred in the region, it’s looking like we are past the peak of this epidemic” he said.
Dr. Farley explained that the decrease in daily cases means the current reproductive rate of the virus is below 1.0. “If we have an R0less than 1.0 and it stays there, eventually the epidemic ends” In order to keep the reproductive rate below 1.0, Farley explained the city must continue strict social distancing guidelines.
Philadelphia hospitals are housing 985 COVID-19 patients with a total of 1,085 people hospitalized in the region. As of Monday, four coronavirus patients were at the Liacouras Center, with two more expected to arrive on Tuesday. Kenney commented that though the Liacouras Center has been lucky in the small number of patients, it is ready for a surge.
On the topic of the CDC expanding the list of coronavirus symptoms, Dr. Farley stated that a rise in the number of tests done will not be by increased eligibility, but by the number of testing materials made available. Limitations of resources make those who are asymptomatic “the last we would want to test”. The city is doing everything in its power to get more testing materials and shorten the turnaround time on results.
Dr. Farley said that in order to begin a plan for reopening of businesses, the number of new cases per day must be below 50. This is the maximum number in which contact tracing can be done. Farley says that this number can be reached in some number of weeks, but only if the public continues to adhere to social distancing regulations.
Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels will fly over the City of Philadelphia at 2 pm Tuesday, April 28th, to salute hospital workers and first responders. Residents who wish to view the event are advised to adhere to social distancing guidelines, remaining 6 feet apart from others and wearing masks. Those sharing the event on social media are asked to use the hashtag “AmericaStrong”.