Philadelphia reaches deal with Temple University for hospital space; 2 more COVID-19 deaths reported

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Saturday, March 28, 2020
Philadelphia reaches deal with Temple University for hospital space
The City of Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Temple University for hospital space as two more coronavirus deaths were reported.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Temple University for hospital space as two more coronavirus deaths were reported.

"Big news for this Friday: Temple University has stepped up during this critical time. We reached an agreement to use The Liacouras Center and other Temple facilities as hospital space," Mayor Kenney tweeted Friday.

The mayor made the announcement during an afternoon press conference, 24 hours after he said the city was moving on from the proposal of using the shuttered Hahnemann University Hospital as a place for COVID-19 patients.

Kenney said the city does not have to pay Temple anything for the use of their properties.

"We're very Temple proud," he said.

Initial estimates place 250 beds inside this college event center, but that could expand.

"We expect the need to be far greater than that, and cautiously optimistic to see additional resources deployed to the site in the future," said city manager Brian Abernathy.

The parking garage will serve as a staging center and the pavilion a block away will also be incorporated.

When patients could arrive is unclear, but the city says it's highly likely hospitals will exceed capacity for critically ill patients.

As many were observed less than six feet from others, experts urge Philadelphians to keep their social distance.

"We imagine it'll be other non-acute patients who still need hospital care but may not as in dire shape or need an ICU or the like," said Abernathy.

Kenney also praised the owners of the Holiday Inn Express-Midtown which is offering its building to the Covid-19 response.

"We expect that site to be fully operational by this weekend," he said.

City officials said there were two more deaths, one confirmed and one probable. Both were females in their 70s with underlying conditions. One was a resident of a nursing home where there was a COVID-19 outbreak.

This brings the total of deaths in Philadelphia to three.

The total of positive cases jumped to 637, with 154 new cases being confirmed.

The 154 positive cases were out of 998 test results.

Of the 637 total cases, 50 are hospitalized and 54 are healthcare workers.

The first case of a Department of Corrections employee has been reported, along with an inmate.

Officials said the city has cases in every zip code.



Mayor Kenney says a plan to reopen the former Hahnemann University Hospital as a place to treat coronavirus is off as the total number of cases pass 630.

The city could not reach a deal with the owner of the now-shuttered building and negotiations are done.

Kenney, speaking during a Thursday afternoon press conference, said they could not come to an agreement with the owner, Joel Freedman, and "we are moving on."

According to Kenney, the owner wanted the city to buy the building. The city offered to rent the building and pay for upkeep and expenses, but the owner would not agree.

Hahnemann is owned by Joel Freedman. His spokesman, Sam Singer, told Action News the company offered the city a lease for $27 per bed per day. He said it is far less than rates being offered by other shuttered hospitals during the crisis in other parts of the county

The mayor said city officials looked into the option of securing the hospital through eminent domain, but realized they would have to buy the building and do not need to do that, nor do they have the resources at this time.

Kenney said the former hospital, which closed in 2019, is an empty building.

"We need to find facilities that can contain several hundred hospital beds," Kenney said.

The city has upgraded its "overall risk in Philadelphia" status from "low" on Wednesday to "community transmission."

On Wednesday, the city reported its first coronavirus-related death. 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 Wednesday afternoon.

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. He said the numbers may differ from the Pennsylvania Department of Health's because they take the information at different times.

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).

In times like this, people want to help. On Friday, six friends devised a plan to do just that.

Donations of PPE needed

City officials say anyone looking to donation Personal Protection Equipment for healthcare workers, can visit

During a news conference on Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said leadership from the top has been "lacking," in terms of the COVID-19 response.

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."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is issuing a stay-at-home order to keep people from leaving home, except to get food, seek medical attention, exercise outdoors, go to a job classified as essential or other important errands that involve personal and public safety.

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.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is issuing a stay-at-home order to keep people from leaving home, except to get food, seek medical attention, exercise outdoors, go to a job classifie

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 was closed Wednesday due to the weather but reopened Thursday.

RELATED: Testing sites through the Philadelphia region

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