Philadelphia reports 359 more coronavirus cases, 23 more deaths

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced 359 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus on Saturday.

That brings the number of confirmed cases to 6,152.

Health officials say the lower daily count is partially because some labs do not report results over the weekend.

The Department of Public Health noted clusters of positive cases in congregate settings, including nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and the Department of Prisons. Five additional inmates have tested positive, bringing the current total of positive cases at correctional facilities to 63.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 23 additional fatalities in Philadelphia, bringing the citywide total to 160.

Seventy-seven of the 160 deaths (48%) were in long-term care facility residents. One hundred and one of the 160 deaths (63%) were in people over age 70.

The Department of Public Health reports 700 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals-a decrease from 717 on Friday -and a total of 1,236 people are hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).

"While the growth rate of numbers of positive cases over the last few days has been promising, I want to stress that now is not the time to let up on social distancing and the other precautions we've been taking," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. "We must continue to do our part to help flatten the curve in Philadelphia. We need all Philadelphia residents to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to leave for an essential job or critical activity like buying food or medicine. We need everyone to wear a face covering if they must go outside and maintain at least six feet between themselves and others when out in public. And of course, everyone needs to continue to wash their hands frequently."

FACE COVERINGS

The City, following recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued guidance recently that stressed the importance of wearing a mask or other face covering when leaving home to help slow the spread and transmission of COVID-19. The CDC has a Q&A on their website that describes the need and effectiveness of wearing a mask outdoors. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has instructions on how to make alternative face masks and shields when other PPE is unavailable.

GUIDANCE FOR FAITH COMMUNITIES

Earlier in the week, Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, the City's Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, offered guidance for faith communities who are celebrating a number of observances this month. "For all faith communities, please, do not gather in-person," she said. "Please do not gather clergy, musicians, singers, and other lay members to conduct worship for a live-streamed audience. Please do not rearrange your space to accommodate six feet between seats. Any group of ANY size carries risk of transmitting the coronavirus." Additional guidance is available online.

CYBER SECURITY AND COVID-19 SCAMS

As an increasing number of people are spending time online during the COVID-19 health crisis, it is important to protect yourself from possible scams and other security issues. Here are some key guidelines to follow:
- Be cautious when opening digital attachments and links that you don't recognize. Unusual attachments and links in an email can be infected with spyware that can obtain your personal data.
- If you receive something from an email address that you don't recognize or causes alarm, then look it up. Researching the email address, company name, phone number, or address can help you identify if a scam has been reported by others.
If you're unemployed or own an impacted business, be especially aware of these actions that scammers may take to target you:

- Asking you to sign over your economic impact payment check to them.
- Asking by phone, email, text, or social media for any personal or banking information and claiming that it's needed to receive your economic impact payment.
- Claiming that they can get you a tax refund or get your economic impact payment faster-this can occur via social media or even in person.
- Mailing you a bogus check and asking you to call a number or verify information online to cash it.

TESTING SITES

The Citizens Bank Park testing site has been discontinued. The remaining testing kits will be redistributed to indoor sites that are more accessible and not weather-dependent; any remaining personal protective equipment (PPE) will be redistributed to support hospitals and long-term care facilities. A total of 2,677 tests were conducted while the site was open. This site conducted approximately seven percent of total tests conducted on Philadelphia residents since testing began.

The City-run location in Center City continues to serve those who are over the age of 50 and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, as well as health care workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus. The site is available by appointment only and a referral is required. Those who meet the criteria and want a test can call (267) 491-5870 to obtain a referral.

There are also more than 20 private testing sites across the city run by hospital systems and other organizations.

TEMPORARY CHANGE IN STUDENT MEAL DISTRIBUTION

The School District's 49 student meal distribution sites will be closed on Monday, April 13. Meals that would have been distributed Monday, April 13, will be available instead on Tuesday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to noon.

This is a temporary schedule change due to the observance of Good Friday, which altered the meal packing schedule.

The usual Monday and Thursday distribution schedule will resume on Thursday, April 16. Please note: The 40 City-supported food sites will remain open on Monday, April 13.

PHILADELPHIA COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUND

The City and PIDC announced that the deadline for micro-businesses to submit applications for funding from the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund is before midnight on Wednesday, April 15. The Relief Fund, which launched on March 23 with approximately $9.25 million, has received over 6,000 applications for more than $82 million in aid. An additional $2.9 million has been secured for the Relief Fund, bringing the total to more than $12.1 million to disburse to local businesses impacted by COVID-19. Information regarding other local and national resources for businesses can be found here.

TRASH PICKUP
On Wednesday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced changes to city services due to the observance of Good Friday.

"There will be no trash pickup on Friday," he said.

Instead, residents who typically have their trashed picked up on Friday should put out their trash after 5 p.m. for collection on Saturday.

Kenney also said the 49 school sites that are providing meals for children will be closed on Monday. This is a one-time change, he said.

The 49 sites will be open on Tuesday, April 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

In addition, all health centers will be closed on Friday, this does not include the COVID-19 testing site in South Philadelphia, Kenney said.

RECYCLING SCHEDULE

Because of staffing concerns, the Streets Department revised its collection schedule.

Recycling materials will be collected on an every-other-week schedule starting next week.

Residents should hold their recycling materials for the week of Monday, April 6 through Saturday, April 11.

Recycling collections will resume on Monday, April 13 with every-other-week collections through at least May 15.

Regular trash collections will continue on or as close to their normal schedule as possible.

Residents should expect some delays as the health crisis continues to have an impact on employee attendance.
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