Philadelphia updates recent coronavirus death count, adds 78 to total

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced the largest number of coronavirus deaths recorded in any single day on Wednesday, but said it was due to matching two separate databases.

The city added 78 COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the citywide total to 986.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the city matches two different databases once a week, which means there will be times where a greater number of deaths are reported.

The one database, he said, contains cases reported to the department, showing people with a confirmed coronavirus test, and the other database shows death certificates, people who have died due to the virus.

Of the 78 new deaths, Farley said most appeared to have died between the period of April 21 and May 7.

"Much of this appears to be people who were reported to us positive before, and later we found out they died," Farley said.

Of the 986 total deaths, 528 (54%) were long-term care facility residents.

Farley said, even with this new information, it appears the trend is going downward.

Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced 242 more confirmed cases of COVID-19. The citywide total stands at 18,779.

There are 741 patients with COVID-19 currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals.

As the case counts go down, there will be an increase of importance of testing and contact tracing, Farley said.

Farley said the city will continue to expand the availability of testing and will be putting in place systems for contact tracing.

"Some people think after we get past this wave of the pandemic, the virus will be gone. That's not the case," Farley said. "Success doesn't mean no virus. Unfortunately, the virus is going to be around until we have a vaccine."

Farley said success will mean the virus is at such a low level, the city can resume most of its activities and most people will not get affected.

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