City of Philadelphia says there are no immediate plans to reopen

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- City leaders said that there are no plans to reopen Philadelphia in the near future as the coronavirus battle continues.

On Saturday, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health reported 451 cases, bringing the total to 9,014.

Health officials reported 45 new deaths, bringing the city's total to 343.

"I remind everybody: if we went back to the way of living before this it absolutely would get much, much worse," said Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner, during Friday's press conference.

Farley says the key to re-opening the city is more testing. He says there is no timetable on when we may say things open back up, and warns that opening too early could lead to even more deaths.

"I hope that other states that are thinking about re-opening are considering that for themselves as well as for us. If they reopen quickly and they can't test and they get a big surge of infections, then it is going to hurt their population as well as ours," said Dr. Farley.

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Dr. Farley says testing is still limited and results can take two to five days.

He stresses there is also a shortage of swabs used to take test samples, and still a need for more rapid testing. Mayor Jim Kenney says he will follow the lead of health experts when it comes to reopening the city.

"Testing, tracking and quarantine. I think those are the three major issues that we have to get to so that we can figure out how to control and maintain the virus. If we don't know who has it, then we don't know who they have come in contact with, and we can't quarantine them, then the virus will stay out there forever," said Mayor Jim Kenney.

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The city says it will continue to work with state and regional leaders to determine if the proper protections are in place before they decide to reopen. But, for now, the mandate is the same: stay home and, if you have to go out, practice social distancing.

"We are absolutely not talking about dates right now. I know that is difficult for people and the uncertainty of this is really tough, but we need to have certain conditions in place in order for us to reopen safely," said Dr. Farley.

On average, health leaders say there are about 500 cases reported every day. The total in city now sits at 9,014.
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