Philadelphia health officials recommend COVID-19 testing for those in post-election crowds

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing across the county. Thirty-one states hit a record number of cases this week, and across the nation, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is approaching a record.

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to launch a new task force, many celebrated the presidential win on Saturday with very little social distancing.

Philadelphia health officials are now recommending that people who have recently been in a crowded gathering should be tested for COVID-19 seven days later.

"The recommendation we are making now is that if people are close to other people outside they should be tested seven days later to make sure they haven't picked up the virus. And in the meantime, they should be staying away from other people," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

On Sunday, people returned to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for post-election demonstrations. Some we spoke with said they've tried to stay around people who are wearing masks.

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With the holidays just a few weeks away and COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, many are resigning themselves to the fact that Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different.

"Most people that I've seen -- and if they're not, they're far away from people-- but most people seem to be wearing masks," said Anastasia Bez of Newark, New Jersey.

"If everyone's being safe, there's general safeness, but I do think there's some COVID-19 concerns," said Mira Desai of Burlington, New Jersey.

"I'm not really concerned about it out here right now. But yes when I go into public places I do wear a mask and I do believe that COVID is out there," said another person.

On Friday, the City of Philadelphia announced 742 new cases of COVID-19.

On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Health Department announced 4,035 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 227,985.

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The US broke a daily coronavirus record on Thursday -- in a week marked by record daily cases -- when it surpassed 118,000 new infections.

Last week, city health officials encouraged people to stay away from others, even when you're outside.

City officials said they are considering restricting activities as the numbers rise, though they say the biggest threat right now is small private gatherings.
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