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News

Holidays Via Zoom? More Restrictions Ahead In Philadelphia Where COVID Cases Hit Record High

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley Photo Credit: Philadelphia Health Department Screengrab

Cases of COVID-19 hit an all-time high in Philadelphia Friday, prompting city officials to consider new restrictions to help mitigate the spread. 

City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley was not specific during Friday's briefing, but said officials are looking at a range of options on restrictions that would slow the virus down.

He also recommended families hold upcoming holiday celebrations over video conference.

"Family gatherings right now are simply very dangerous, particularly around a meal," he said. Regarding new restrictions, he said: "Everything is on the table right now. We’re looking at all possibilities."

An additional 742 new cases were reported in Philadelphia from Thursday to Friday -- the highest daily number ever, 

The city's hospitals reported 267 patients, a number that was at 211 last week and 90 in September, Farley said. During the peak of the pandemic, there were 1,000 people in the hospitals. Farley said it's something officials are "going to have to watch closely."

Five COVID-19 related deaths were reported since Thursday among Philadelphia residents. During the week of Oct. 18, the city had 14 deaths -- a slight increase in the 10 per week reported in September.

Farley expects all numbers to increase as the weather will get colder and people will be spending more time inside. He also noted most of the spread occurs at family functions, social gatherings or in the workplace.

"We are considering restrictions to prevent more spread, but most spread happens in private settings," Farley said. "So, stopping the spread relies on what Philadelphia residents do on their own."

Farley suggested residents take certain measures to stop the spread such as:

  • Work from home
  • Stay away from others unless absolutely necessary
  • Work under the assumption that everyone has the infection, and wear your mask

"Make no mistake about it, this is a very dangerous period," he said regarding the colder weather and holiday season," Farley said. "This is possibly the most dangerous period of the entire epidemic."

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