City Hall: Mayor, City Officials Announce First COVID-19 Case In Philadelphia

On March 10, Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials announced that an adult resident of Philadelphia has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Few details about the individual were released because of patient confidentiality, but they were exposed to a known case of the virus. The Philadelphia Department of Health is currently reaching out to the individuals who were exposed to this patient before they were diagnosed. 

Dr. Thomas Farley, the commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, provided recommendations for Philadelphians to contain cases of the virus and prevent it from spreading further.

”The two most common symptoms of the coronavirus infection are fever and a dry cough,” Farley said. “If you have a fever and a dry cough, stay away from other people.”

He encouraged those who experience symptoms to contact their physician for testing. 

Dr. Thomas Farley stands in front of a podium and speaks into a microphone with one hand raised slightly as he outlines steps Philadelphians should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Thomas Farley provided recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia. 

”We know that testing is available,” Farley said. “Not as widely available as we would like it to be, but it is improving day by day, and we want to encourage people who have symptoms of this to contact their physician so we can identify cases rapidly.”

To reduce the potential for the spread of the virus within Philadelphia, city officials are recommending people avoid attending large public gatherings. 

“As of today, we are recommending that people in Philadelphia not attend public gatherings that would typically have more than 5,000 people,” Farley said. 

This recommendation includes large sporting events and Philadelphia’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for March 15. While officials noted that the parade had not been canceled at the time of the press conference, they encouraged residents to avoid attending large events as spectators. After the press conference, the St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association of Philadelphia announced the cancellation of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. City officials do not recommend the closure of universities at this time.

Residents can receive updates on COVID-19 in Philadelphia by texting the keyword COVIDPHL to 888777.

Brian Abernathy, the managing director for the City of Philadelphia, stressed that the situation is evolving and that recommendations to the public will change over time. He noted that the City is encouraging private employers to moderate their sick leave policies to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“We are fortunate that we did not have a case sooner, and we’ve had time to prepare so we can mitigate the impact locally and keep our Philadelphians well,” Kenney said. 

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