PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some of the COVID-19 numbers are not adding up when it comes to case count. Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are working to get an accurate count of the number of coronavirus cases in the city.
After a day of reporting no new COVID-19 deaths in Philadelphia, the number has risen, as the weekend data caught up to the current day.
“We have 17 new confirmed deaths of the coronavirus infection, bringing us to a total of 743,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “What I’m giving each day is the number of people who have been confirmed as the previous 24 hours as having died from the infection. That is not how many people have died the previous day. They may have died days ago, or some cases, more than a couple of weeks ago. There’s a variety of reasons why there may be delays between when the death occurred and when we get the report.”
Health officials say, despite the increase and the day’s 370 new positive cases, they are seeing a promising trend.
“Clearly we’re on the downslope,” Farley said.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is continuing to assess the coronavirus outbreak across the state as he looks to move counties into a gradual reopening phase.
During a phone conference with reporters on Tuesday, he says he’s still concerned about what he’s seeing in the southeastern part of the state.
“Our data is that actually Philadelphia did not have zero deaths yesterday. There was maybe a delay in reporting,” Wolf said. “We need good data in order to make these decisions. We’re trying to flatten the curve and if we’re flattening the curve by basically pretending that there aren’t deaths or aren’t new cases, that’s not helping us. We need to do it based on accurate information.”
“We’re going to work to put in place changes in terms of our system and working with our other data systems with Philadelphia to try to reconcile that data on a daily basis,” said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Philadelphia officials say they’re in constant communication with the Wolf administration about the current state of the city and its coronavirus cases. They all know this densely populated area poses different challenges for containing the spread.
“We’ve always been trying to approach this as a southeastern regional issue, that obviously we’re a densely populated area compared to other areas of the state,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “And the rules that apply in Erie County or Tioga County would not necessarily apply in Philadelphia or Montgomery County.”