Health Commissioner Discusses Safety Guidelines Amid Citywide Reopenings

In Thursday’s press briefing, the Department of Public Health announced that there has been an increase in daily case counts in the past week.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley stated that there 228 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Philadelphia, bringing the total number of cases in the city to 29,102. There were also two additional fatalities, bringing total deaths up to 1,675. The city has averaged 139 cases per day over the past week, up from 110 cases per day on average last week.

However, Dr. Farley believes that this can be attributed to delays in reporting cases from two major laboratories in the area. The city received 4,200 test results yesterday, almost double what they usually get in a single day.

Schools and colleges will be opening soon in Philadelphia, and the Department of Public Health has been meeting individually with schools in the area about their reopening plans. Dr. Farley stated that the Department believes that schools will be able to open safely, as they are currently allowed to do so under Governor Wolf’s phased reopening plan for the state, but rising cases among young people may present difficulties if schools do not adhere to safety guidelines.

Dr. Farley also discussed indoor and outdoor dining in Philadelphia. He stated that the Department of Public Health still believes indoor dining to be unsafe due to difficulties in adhering to social distancing standards inside. Outdoor dining, though, is considerably safer when restaurants maintain safety guidelines for patrons. These guidelines include masks/facial coverings, barriers, distancing, reducing crowds, and communication between establishments and customers.

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