Philadelphia considers possible COVID-19 restrictions due to rapidly increasing case count

Philadelphia COVID-19 live updates, news and information

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020
COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise in Philadelphia
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COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Department of Public Health on Wednesday announced 761 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"More important than that, daily case rates are rising quickly. Yesterday we reported the most new cases and today, the second-most ever. We are entering the most dangerous phase of this pandemic, and everyone-everyone-needs to take this seriously: stay away from others, and wear a mask," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Farley talked about the possibility of Covid-related restrictions.

"I would say that the full range of options is something we're considering. These are tough decisions," said Farley.

The number of hospital cases has more than doubled in the last two weeks.

Doctors at Temple University and across the city are preparing.

"What I don't know is are we in the worst of it, is the worst coming in the next week or two, or are we just at the beginning of what could really be bad?" said Dr. Tony Reed of Temple University Hospital.

Health officials anticipate a further increase in cases, especially with the holidays approaching, which is why they are looking at implementing new restrictions.

"As the holidays come up, it's gonna be really tempting to go inside and have gatherings where it's warmer with larger groups of people, but you should refrain from doing that," said La Toya Nesbit, an ICU nurse at Einstein Medical Center.

"Wear a mask, keep social distancing, I know the holidays are coming and we want to get together with family. We need to do it in a wise way," said Dr. Reed.

"We really want to change the trajectory of this epidemic, but we don't want to be so heavy-handed that we unnecessarily restrict things that may be important for people," said Farley.

Officials said they are also having active discussions about possible restrictions that could impact restaurants.

"Hearing about spread in restaurants from our contact tracing interviews, for example a group of people are going to restaurants for birthday parties," said Farley.

Restaurant owners in Philadelphia said they bracing for a worst case scenario, with more restrictions possibly coming to their already hurting business.

During lunchtime at Morea, a restaurant in Center City that opened about two weeks ago, tables were empty. The owner said he is dreading more limitations, but he's planning ahead on how to pivot if dining capacity is reduced.

"We have to be a little more creative, we have to do a lot more delivery and pickup," said Scott Hockfield, the owner of Morea.

"Looks like mask use might actually be going down, unfortunately, I'd rather that not be the case but it doesn't seem to be rising for sure," said Farley.


Philadelphia School District delays return of hybrid learning, will remain virtual 'until further notice'

The Philadelphia School District said Tuesday it is delaying plans to return some students to a hybrid learning model amid a rise in COVID-19 cases across the city, state and country.

In a letter obtained by Action News, Dr. Evelyn Nunez, chief of schools for the district, says all students will continue with 100% digital learning "until further notice."

"It continues to be our goal to transition to hybrid learning, but we remain committed to doing so only when guidance says it is safe to do so," the letter said.

During a news conference, Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, said leaders will continue supporting families.

Health officials recommend COVID-19 testing for those in post-election crowds

Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing across the county. Thirty-one states hit a record number of cases this week, and across the nation, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is approaching a record.

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to launch a new task force, many celebrated the presidential win on Saturday with very little social distancing.

Philadelphia health officials are now recommending that people who have recently been in a crowded gathering should be tested for COVID-19 seven days later.


CDC says masks protect you, not just those around you, in updated guidance

As the U.S. sees a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases, the Centers for Disease Control released new mask guidance.

The latest update says wearing a face-covering doesn't just protect the people around you, but it also protects the wearer from incoming virus projectiles.

Originally, the CDC pushed the use of face masks to reduce the emission from virus-laden asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others.

Now, the CDC has added to that guidance, saying masks also reduce inhalation of those droplets by the wearer.

WATCH: How COVID is impacting holiday gatherings, travel

CDC releases updated guidelines for Thanksgiving

The CDC posted its most specific guidance yet on Thanksgiving Monday, which emphasizes that the safest option for the holiday is celebrating only with people in your household or taking extra precautions like wearing masks and keeping your distance if you celebrate with others.

A safe Thanksgiving during a pandemic is possible, but health experts know their advice is as tough to swallow as dry turkey: Stay home. Don't travel. If you must gather, do it outdoors.

President-elect Biden pleads 'wear a mask' as COVID-19 cases climb

President-elect Joe Biden is imploring Americans to "wear a mask" to help fight the spread of the coronavirus - "no matter who you voted for."

He says, "We are Americans, and our country is under threat."

The Democrat said Monday the act could slow the death toll in the COVID-19 pandemic, which he noted could climb by 200,000 more before a vaccine is widely available.

Pfizer vaccine reportedly 90% effective against coronavirus

Pfizer Inc. said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine may be a remarkable 90% effective, based on early and incomplete test results.

It brought a big burst of optimism to a world desperate for the means to finally bring the catastrophic outbreak under control.


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