PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the number of deaths due to coronavirus topped 1,000 Thursday, Philadelphia leaders announced the formation of the COVID-19 Recovery Office to guide the city's pandemic recovery.
"A public health and economic crisis of this magnitude requires a thoughtful and coordinated approach," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "With the formation of the COVID-19 Recovery Office, we will ensure that our City government is recovering its costs and maximizing the effectiveness of the numerous federal and state grants coming to Philadelphia."
The office, according to its website, will make sure the recovery protects public health and safety; is fiscally responsible for the city and taxpayers; addresses the most pressing community hardships caused by the pandemic; puts Philadelphians back to work; and helps businesses in hard-hit-communities.
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Officials said the office will ensure that recovery efforts adhere to five core values:
- Accessibility - Present our work transparently and clearly so everyone can understand the process and substance.
- Efficiency - Work with urgency, but carefully and efficiently without duplication of efforts. Be accountable for delivering.
- Equity - Support our city's historically disadvantaged communities to address inequities and ensure that all Philadelphians can recover and thrive after the pandemic.
- Impact - Use data to inform decisions, measure progress, and achieve maximum available reimbursement related to COVID-19 costs so that Philadelphia's residents, employers, and government can successfully rebound.
- Integrity - Follow all rules and guidelines, act with honesty, and always work in the best interests of the city as a whole.
The office is governed by a steering committee that oversees five working groups of senior city leaders. These groups focus on policy and legislation, communications, internal controls and compliance, financial administration and grants management, and citywide economic recovery.
The COVID-19 Recovery Office is chaired by Deputy Finance Director Sarah de Wolf and Deputy Managing Director Chris Rupe.
The Recovery Office manages the city's state and federal COVID-19-related funding.
An organizational chart of the Recovery Office's structure can be found here.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced 314 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 19,093.
Health officials confirmed 22 additional fatalities, bringing the citywide total number of deaths to 1,008.
Of the 1,008 total deaths, 544 (54%) were long-term care facility residents.
Mayor Kenney said passing 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in Philadelphia was "an unfortunate milestone."
"In the last several days, (Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley) has characterized the city as being on the downslope of the pandemic," said the Mayor. "But crossing the threshold of 1,000 deaths is a stark reminder of the need to stay vigilant about social distancing practices. So remember-stay at home, wear face coverings when you do go out, and stay safe."
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Deaths top 1,000 in Philly as COVID-19 Recovery Office formed