PHILADELPHIA — The Department of Public Health Tuesday announced 544 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 - and an additional 20 deaths – in Philadelphia.
That brings the number of confirmed cases to 4,272, and the death total to 65 of persons who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia. Twenty-six of the 65 deaths are in long-term care facility residents. Forty-three of the 65 deaths (66%) were people over age 70.
The Department of Public Health reports 554 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 956 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).
The Department of Public Health again noted clusters of positive cases in congregate settings, including nursing homes, behavioral health facilities and the Department of Prisons. Four additional inmates have tested positive, bringing the total to 58.
In addition, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that his administration will submit a revised budget and Five Year Plan to City Council because of the economic impact of COVID-19.
“I can tell you that we anticipate that the city will face a substantial increase in expenditure and significant decrease in tax revenue because of the larger economic impact of COVID-19,” said Kenney. “While it is too early to quantify that impact, it is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars. That means we’ll have to make difficult decisions on city spending, the likes of which have never before been needed.”
The mayor said the revised budget will be submitted by May 1, 2020. “I know full well that any reductions in city services will be painful. You rely on those services. You deserve those services. We will work extremely hard to minimize those impacts, and to focus on delivering needed services, especially those on which the most vulnerable Philadelphians rely. You have my word. But we must deal with the reality that this virus has thrust upon us, and that is going to mean all of us making sacrifices in the months ahead.”
To mark World Health Day, many of Philadelphia’s iconic buildings and landmarks were set to shine blue Tuesday night in honor of the health care workers and first responders who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the City of Philadelphia, the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) of Philadelphia, the Parkway Council, and the Center City District, more than three dozen commercial, cultural, and residential buildings from Center City to South Philadelphia will change their illumination to blue starting Tuesday, April 7, and will continue each Tuesday for the rest of the month.
The Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, Tuesday offered guidance for the observance of Holy Week, which began on Sunday, April 5, and Passover, which begins tonight, April 8. “For all faith communities, please, do not gather in-person,” she said. “Please do not gather clergy, musicians, singers, and other lay members to conduct worship for a live streamed audience. Please do not rearrange your space to accommodate 6 feet between seats. Any group of any size carries risk of transmitting the coronavirus.”
“Even if you reduce the group of people who are coming to your house of worship to 25 or 20 or 15, there is still risk involved,” Rev. Washington-Leaphart continued. “The virus can spread among a small group of people who are sharing microphones, singing in the same room, and touching the same surfaces, even if people do not have symptoms. Remember, no risk is better than minimal risk.”
The city announced that starting this week, the Register of Wills Office will offer virtual operations for both probate and marriage license services. These services will be available on an emergency basis and will be provided according to criteria established by the Register of Wills office. To learn more, visit www.phila.gov/wills.
The Department of Public Health announced Monday that the testing site at Citizens Bank Park will be discontinued after 6 p.m. on Friday, April 10. Remaining testing kits will be redistributed to other sites to expand their capacity, and any personal protective equipment (PPE) will be used to support hospitals and long-term care facilities.
The City-run location in Center City, announced last week, will continue to serve those who are over the age of 50 and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, as well as health care workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus. The site is available by appointment only and a referral is required. Those who meet the criteria and want a test can call (267) 491-5870 to obtain a referral.
There are also more than 20 private testing sites across the city run by hospital systems and other organizations.