By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in the region, but at a slower pace, and the curve continues to flatten. Local officials say that’s encouraging, and even though an expected peak is coming, they say people still need to stay at home.

But there continues to be a disconnect with what federal officials are saying in calling Philadelphia a hot spot. State and local officials don’t want to argue with federal officials because we need those resources, and this could be a situation of analyzing different data.

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“We’re glad for the attention because we need all the resources we can,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

Farley, in responding to the new federal attention, continues to say the numbers are a little better in Philadelphia as we approach an expected peak.

“An area of particular concern we were briefed on this morning, is the city of Philadelphia,” Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.

That bombshell had federal officials identifying potential hot spots and bunching Philadelphia with our surrounding cities.

“Now in the Philadelphia-metro area, where I come from, it’s 1,400 cases per day. This, of course, includes Camden, the counties around the Philadelphia metro and Wilmington,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, who is part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

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Yes, the region has had an increasing number of cases, but the pace has slowed. Dr. Farley says federal officials appear to be looking at trends rather than specific numbers.

“I am more optimistic about our trend,” Dr. Farley said. “It’s been rising quite quickly, but in the last few days, it’s been rising much more slowly. I can’t guarantee that will continue, but if it does, that would be a good sign.”

The Health Share Exchange Report that covers the Philadelphia region shows both inpatients and emergency department volume is trending down and it highlights neighborhoods in Philadelphia with the highest concentrations of COVID-19 cases.

At the top include:

  • 19143, Cobbs Creek, Kingsessing
  • 19111, Fox Chase
  • 19140, North Philadelphia
  • 19139, West Philadelphia
  • 19131, Fairmount

“Our message to the people of the Philadelphia area, is now more than ever, practice social distancing,” Pence said.

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Officials say social distancing has helped to flatten the curve in our area. People need to continue to stay home except for getting necessities, and if you have to be out, remember to wear a mask.