According to the CDC, the "substantial" category means 50-99.99 total new cases per 100,000 persons in the last seven days.
"What this really means is our level of concern and the CDC's level of concern are now in alignment," said Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. "It's a continuation of what we have seen over the past couple of weeks, it just takes us over the threshold for the CDC."
Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania have also been added to the "substantial' category.
CDC COVID-19 Transmission Levels by U.S. CountyMap not displaying correctly? Click here to open in a new window.
As of Monday, 62.4% of adults 18 and older are fully vaccinated in Philadelphia.
The Department of Public Health reports 75 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of six on ventilators. In the last two weeks, 4% of COVID-19 tests in Philadelphia have come back positive, officials said.
Last month, local health leaders once again strongly recommended everyone wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
They also recommend:
- Choosing outdoor rather than indoor spaces
- Avoiding crowded indoor spaces
-Wear a mask while indoors around people whom you don't know are vaccinated
-Unvaccinated people should consider double masking while in indoor public spaces.
On Monday, The Philadelphia Department of Public Health provided a statement to Action News reading:
"On July 22, we instituted a strong recommendation for everyone over age 2 in Philadelphia to mask while indoors in public places. The CDC has now seconded that recommendation. All Philadelphians should pay attention to this warning to prevent the kind of surge that's being seen in other parts of the country, which are seeing increases in hospitalizations of both adults and children. The delta variant spreads more easily than previous forms of COVID-19, but that spread can be prevented by vaccination, masking, avoiding crowded indoor places, and keeping distance from others. None of these measures are fully effective alone, so we recommend layering protections: get vaccinated and wear a mask indoors in public places."
Now, more businesses are wondering if they should require employees and customers to show proof of vaccination.
Ben Fileccia of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association began fielding calls last week from restaurant owners looking for guidance on the topic, a few in our area already announced they would only serve vaccinated customers.
"As of this point we don't have any guidance. I've just been asking them to call other restaurants that are also doing it just to share best practices," said Fileccia.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today all healthcare workers and employees in congregate settings must be vaccinated or tested, at least bi-weekly, starting September 7.
So far New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware state employees have not been told they have a requirement to get vaccinated. The City of Philadelphia is in discussions about what they will require.
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