City Provides Update on COVID-19 w/Links to Important Sites

City Provides Update on COVID-19 for Wednesday, March 18, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced 16 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 34. 

The City is awaiting test results on many other cases, and officials will no longer be reporting that number because the volume of testing is so wide and is constantly changing. Health Department staff are working with 144 people who have been exposed to people with this infection to monitor for symptoms.

Dr. Farley also issued a call for Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers. The MRC is a group of more than 2,500 volunteers who serve the City during public health emergencies and large-scale events. Anyone interested can visit www.phila.gov/mrc to register with our Medical Reserve Corps. Clinical and non-clinical volunteers are needed. 

Also today, the City published a blog detailing City services that remain in operation following the partial shutdown of the government. The blog also provides guidance for residents in need of particular services amid the curtailment of operations.

The Philly311 app now has a section dedicated to COVID-19 requests. The app also provides translation to 16 languages. For residents who call 311, translation is available for over 100 languages through the City’s Language Line.

The Mayor’s and Health Commissioner’s Emergency Order that authorizes the restrictions on business activity remains in force until at least March 27, 2020. The order specifies categories of retail, infrastructure, industrial, healthcare, and social service businesses that are deemed essential. It also specifies restrictions on working from offices. The order can be viewed or downloaded here. Residents and business owners can also view a plain-language summary of the restrictions here.

Business owners or managers who have questions about the order and restrictions can email vbeoc@phila.gov. Residents or employees who believe a business is in violation of these restrictions are urged to contact 311. Restaurants may operate solely to provide food through online, delivery, pickup, or walk-in ordering. Dine-in service is strictly prohibited. 

Residents with medical questions can call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. The Helpline, free and available 24/7, is staffed by trained health professionals and is for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the public and healthcare providers, to help answer questions about COVID-19.

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.

Notes to media: City officials will continue to update the press every day at 1:00 p.m. in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall. It will be live-streamed via the Department of Public Health’s Twitter (@PHLPublicHealth) and Facebook accounts, and broadcast on PHLGovTV, Comcast channels 64 and 1164, and Verizon channels 40 and 41.

Due to the volume of press requests related to COVID-19, members of the media are asked to hold all City-related questions for those daily briefings. Emailed press questions should go to press@phila.gov.