PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia reported Friday their highest daily positive case counts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 3,384 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 223,950.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced the city had 742 positive cases, for a citywide total of 47,675.
Farley said the virus seems to be working similar to the flu, rising through the fall and peaks in January and February. He anticipates further rapid increases in the case counts.
"This is possibly the worst period in the entire epidemic," Farley said.
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Farley said the record number of cases is due, in part, to a large number of testing results, more than 5,000 results were received Friday.
However, Farley said the percentage of people testing positive was high at 14%. He said the percent positivity is increasing week to week. Last week was 9.1% positivity.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported the number of tests administered in the state within the last seven days, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5, was 301,056 with 17,690 positive cases.
There were 49,528 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., Nov. 5. State health officials said this is a record high number of PCR test results reported to the department.
In Philadelphia, Farley said there is increasing case counts for every age group, every racial group, and in every zip code.
There were five new deaths reported Friday in the city. The total number of deaths stands at 1,889.
For Pennsylvania, there were 38 more deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 8,975.
Farley said because the city is testing more people with little to no symptoms, the percentage of deaths will be lower than it was in the spring, but he is still concerned about the trend. The week of Oct. 18 saw 14 total deaths in the city, an increase from 10 per week in September.
Farley said he expects more increases in deaths in the coming weeks.
Hospitals in Philadelphia are seeing an increase in patients with COVID-19, Farley said.
There have been isolated cases of COVID-19 in city schools. Farley said there are three schools, out of approximately 95 currently doing in-person learning, that contact tracing suggest the spread happened inside the school.
Farley gave a few real examples of how people in the city have contracted the virus: between family and friends, at social gatherings, and possibly at restaurants and workplaces.
In one example, a woman attended a funeral of a family member who had COVID. A few days later, she went to work and exposed five coworkers. She then developed symptoms and got tested. While awaiting results, she spent time with two friends and five family members. Farley said there were 12 contacts identified and many were experiencing symptoms.
In another example, a woman went to brunch with five friends then went to work at a day care. Later, she and three of the friends tested positive. All children and staff at the day care had to be quarantined for possible exposure.
Another example, Farley said a woman went to a wedding where she was probably exposed and developed symptoms. Her son, who was in 40s, later developed symptoms and died two weeks later.
Farley said the city is considering more restrictions but because most of the spread happens in private settings, success still depends on what people do on their own.
He said people should work from home if they can, stay away from others unless absolutely necessary, don't have gatherings with friends like brunch or baby showers, and wear a mask when around anyone not from your household.
Farley strongly recommended Philly residents to have their holiday celebrations over video conference this year.
"Family gatherings right now are simply very dangerous," Farley said.
The city observed 75% of people leaving retail stores are wearing masks, but Farley said that is not enough. He said businesses should tell customers to wear masks.
"If you are part of the 25% not wearing a mask, you are putting yourself and others in the community at risk, so wear a mask," Farley said.