‘No Increased Spread So Far From Protests’ according to Philadelphia Officials

In the June 16 COVID-19 press briefing, officials discuss restaurants defying orders, the state of the Christopher Columbus statue and give an update on Philadelphia case count.

Philadelphia has been in the yellow phase for eleven days, with restaurants open for outdoor dining for 5 days. Dr. Thomas Farley says he has personally witnessed outdoor dining facilities not following guidelines. He says the tables are not set 6 feet apart and there have been large lines of people.

“This epidemic isn’t over, far from it,” Dr. Farley said. “People are tired of the epidemic, but the virus is not tired of us.”

Restaurants will cease operations if they do not follow guidelines. If rules are not followed, Dr. Farley says, the start of indoor dining may be delayed or dining at restaurants could cease altogether. There have been no restaurant closures as of yet, but Dr. Farley says people will be seeing more of it in the coming days and weeks. The city has the capability to fine restaurants up to $2,000 a day if these issues are not recognized and reversed.

Dr. Farley also gave out a reminder that if salons, gyms, or other facilities are operating, and therefore not follow yellow phase guidelines, Dr. Farley says you should call 311, and a city inspector will shut the business down.

Dr. Farley then gave an update on city case numbers. As of Tuesday, there are 24,591 total cases of COVID-19 in the Philadelphia region. 116 new cases have been reported, which Dr. Farley says is due to an increased number of testing. With less than 6% of tests coming back positive, this is an all-time low, according to Dr. Farley.

276 COVID-19 patients are currently in Philadelphia hospitals, and 481 patients are in the region. Dr. Farley says this is 75% below the number of hospital patients during Philadelphia’s peak in April. There were 21 new deaths that have occurred to the city’s awareness today. Dr. Farley says that this is once again due to the increased testing and data being transferred to officials. Overall, there are 1-2 deaths per day in nursing homes across the city. This brings the total deaths to 1,495. 768 of those cases, or 51%, are from nursing homes.

Dr. Farley says that there are no signs of the protests sparking an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Christopher Columbus statue at Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia has been boarded up and blocked by the Department of Streets Tuesday. The work has been done to prevent damage after days of standoffs at the site, however, the city is planning on removing the statue.

For anyone with respiratory symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, click here to find a testing site near you.

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