Philadelphia sees drop in new COVID-19 cases, health officials say

About 67% of adults in Philadelphia are fully vaccinated and nearly 82% of adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia health officials shared some positive news during their Thursday morning COVID-19 update.

According to Acting Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole, the city is starting to see another drop off in new COVID-19 cases.

Bettigole said safety measures, like mask wearing and proof of vaccination, may be one reason we're seeing infection rates go down.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia man shares COVID-19 survival story: 'It was like a plastic bag over your head'

"There's some evidence that we've come down from a peak," she said. "There are 288 (new cases) down from 307 from last week and the percentage of tests coming back positive is also going down. On August 23, 7% of tests were coming back positive and yesterday only 5% were coming back positive."

In terms of vaccinations, 67% of adults in Philadelphia are fully vaccinated and nearly 82% of adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

SEE ALSO: Nearly 252,000 child COVID-19 cases reported last week, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Bettigole said the people who are getting infected are overwhelmingly the unvaccinated population.

"Our highest rates are in young adults 20 to 34, and Black adults, young Black adults. They are the lowest vaccinated groups and we're targeting those age groups," she said.

According to data gathered by the Action News Data Journalism team, hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Philadelphia are using:

  • 17% of adult ICU beds

  • 12% of medical/surgical beds

  • 13% of pediatric ICU beds

  • 20% of pediatric beds

"So many, almost all of them, are patients that could have received the COVID-19 vaccine," said Dr. Neil Rellosa, who is a pediatric infectious disease physician. "Many of the patients, they have underlying conditions but specifically talking about obesity."

In terms of mitigation for children who can't yet be vaccinated, Dr. Emily Souder of Saint Christopher's Hospital says universal masking in schools is a great policy. As is protecting eligible adults.

"A lot of the patients that we see end up in the hospital got it from contacts at home, especially those who could be vaccinated," said Souder.

The State of Pennsylvania announced a new grant partnership with United Way, offering faith-based groups and non-profits who are hosting vaccine drives anywhere from $400 to $40,000 depending on the number of people vaccinated.
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