1st COVID-19 death in Philadelphia, total positive cases jump to 342

WPVI logo
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Dr. Farley gives update as 1st coronavirus death reported in Philadelphia
EMBED <>More Videos

Dr. Farley gives an update as the first coronavirus death was reported in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has reported its first coronavirus-related death and 342 total positive cases.

Officials said the death is a man in his 50s with underlying conditions.

"We certainly expect more deaths in the future," Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

This comes as Philadelphia confirmed 93 new positive COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning, bringing the total in the city to 342.

Of those 342 positive cases:

- 12 are under 20 years old

- 163 are between 20 to 39 years old

- 85 are between 40 to 59 years old

- 82 are over the age of 60

Thirty seven are healthcare workers.

According to the city, there have been 2,508 negative cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia.

The overall risk in the city is still at low.

Farley mentioned the adding the number of new cases to the previous day's numbers may not equal of the new daily total because some cases get assigned to different counties after further review.

With the growing number of cases in the New York City area, the city of Philadelphia is now posting recommendations for those who have traveled to New York City within the last 14 days to go into self-quarantine for 14 days (if you traveled to the five NYC boroughs plus Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties in New York and Bergen County in New Jersey).

On Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney began the city's coronavirus press briefing by directly addressing President Donald Trump's comments about the social distancing measures being taken across the country as the pandemic grows.

Those comments included a tweet on Tuesday morning in which the president suggested that social distancing measures could be maintained even as workers returned to their jobs.


Philadelphia and the surrounding suburban counties are under a stay-at-home order, and only essential or life-sustaining businesses are allowed to remain open.

Kenney said he and his administration recognize that the stay at home order will "create serious disruptions and economic hardships for tens of thousands of people."

"But our Health Department and other experts are absolutely certain that ignoring the restrictions will further the spread of this virus. To life restrictions at this time is the ultimate example of short-sightedness," he said.

"While doing so may help some businesses stay afloat, the cost in lives and the cost to society will be far greater," Kenney said.

Philadelphia Stay-at-Home Order

Philadelphia's stay-at-home order went into effect at 8 a.m. Monday.

Mayor Jim Kenney issued the stay-at-home order on Sunday, as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the city and the commonwealth.

What does a stay at home order mean?

Kenney said it didn't seem that people were taking his request to stay home seriously and that he wanted "to ramp up the level of concern so people will get it in their heads that this is a serious epidemic and they need to stay home."

If officers encounter situations of willful non-compliance, they will take appropriate action.

The order does include some exceptions.

Changes in the new Stay at Home Order include:

  • The City's emergency restrictions no longer end on Friday, March 27. To align with Gov. Wolf's order, the City's order remains in effect "until further notice."
  • Under the order's stay at home provisions, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes permitted by the emergency order. This does not apply to activities related to essential businesses and activities or essential personal activities.
  • All Philadelphia residents must remain home or at their place of residence unless they are engaged in essential personal activities that are spelled out in the order. Those activities include going out to purchase essential goods and food or seeking medical attention.
  • Other permitted activities under the new stay at home order include caring for family members, friends, or a pet in another household, delivering essential goods or obtaining emergency services and attention, reporting to their job related to essential business.
  • Outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling, operating a wheelchair are permitted under the stay at home order.
  • Walk-in takeout orders at restaurants are prohibited as part of the stay at home order. Only food pre-ordered on the internet or by phone and drive-thru orders are permitted. Food trucks and ice cream trucks are prohibited.
  • Grocery stores should discourage leisure or idle conduct by customers and manage store occupancy to allow for social distancing.
  • Consistent with the Governor's Order, the City clarifies that the following are life-sustaining businesses or services: laundromats, veterinary hospitals, pet stores, retail banks (allowing drive-through or limited lobby access), stores that primarily repair cell phones, and bicycle or motorcycle repair shops.
  • Emergency household repairs and maintenance are life-sustaining, as are extermination services related to rodents and pests.
  • Businesses required to suspend physical operations may only have essential on-site personnel to maintain critical functions, such as security and processing of essential operations that cannot be done remotely.
  • The prohibition on clothing manufacturing does not apply to uniforms and apparel required by medical and healthcare professionals and public safety personnel (police officers, firefighters and EMS providers).
  • City employees who have been deemed essential and must report to work at a location other than their home, should continue to do so.
  • The Mayor's Office said this stay at home order in no way impacts the delivery of food or essential goods. Truck operators who are part of the supply chain for food and essential goods should know that if all guidelines issued by the CDC are being followed, they are safe to operate trucks and make these deliveries. But again, as noted above, the operation of trucks that serve food and ice cream trucks are prohibited.

Mayor Jim Kenney also announced the decision to postpone the city's annual Broad Street Run. The tentative date will be set for October 4.

Drive-thru Testing

The City, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, is continuing a drive-through site to provide COVID-19 coronavirus testing to identified members of the public. The Community Based Testing Site, located at Citizens Bank Park. The site is closed Wednesday due to the weather.

Since opening on Friday, March 20, 2020, 396 tests have been conducted at the site. Testing is strictly limited at this time to those in either of these two categories:

- People who are over 50 years of age and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus.

- Healthcare workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, including:

  • Hospital and doctors office staff with direct patient contact
  • Nursing home staff with direct patient contact
  • People who perform Emergency Medical Services duties
  • Home healthcare staff with direct patient contact

Another testing site opened Monday at the Rite Aid on the 7400 block of West Oak Lane.

Officials say the only people who can be tested at this site are first responders and healthcare workers. The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Residents can get COVID-19 updates sent to their phones. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive free alerts with information and updates from the Health Department. Information is also being updated daily on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's webpage www.phila.gov/covid-19.