Officials: COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Philadelphia; 604 new cases reported

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On Thursday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Temple University's Liacouras Center is now ready for patients, but he hopes the city will not need to use the facility.

The news comes as Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the city is still seeing an increase in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.

Farley said there will be a process before hospitals will be allowed to send patients to the Liacouras Center, which will be staffed by several institutions.

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Dr. Farley provides update on COVID-19 in Philadelphia on April 16.

"If you are at or near capacity and you need to transfer patients, the first thing you need to do is talk to other hospitals about transferring them there because as much as we are convinced that the Liacouras Center can provide excellent care, it still better to have a patient to be in a regular hospital with all the resources of the hospital than at the the Liacouras center, "said Farley.

Officials reported 604 new cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia on Thursday, bringing the state total to 8,045.

Farley said the number was much higher than Wednesday's total due to lab reports being returned in batches.

The region currently has 1,541 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, he said. In total, 264 people in Philadelphia have died from the virus.

Despite the growing number of hospitalizations, Farley said that 30% of hospital beds and 29% of ICU beds remain available.

"We are not past the worst of this. There is still a lot to go to get past this pandemic," Farley said.

Nursing homes are still being hit the hardest, Farley said. As of Thursday, there have been 137 deaths at nursing homes in Philadelphia.

With school buildings closed for the rest of the year, Superintendent, Dr. William Hite said the district is making sure all students are still being fed and have Chromebooks to participate in the new digital learning initiative.

By May 4, assignments will be due and the district will take attendance.

"You will soon see a public facing website that will have what young people are slated for, or what they should be working on, on a giving day based on their grade, based on the subject matter and all of the resources that are available," said Hite.
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