By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s health commissioner says “the situation with the epidemic is looking better in several ways” as the number of COVID-19 cases has now topped 17,000. During Thursday’s briefing. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley reported 350 new cases, bringing the city’s total to 17,047.

“The trend in the number of cases is clearly downward and maybe that it’s picking up speed in the way it’s going down,” Farley said.

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Farley said 13 more people died from the virus, raising the city’s death toll to 816.

“The number of daily deaths is also on a downward trend, which is also a good sign,” Farley said.

The city is seeing progress in the number of cases among congregate settings as there has been a decline of COVID-19 in nursing homes and the city jail. In fact, today is the fourth day in a row when there’s been no new reports of infections among inmates.

Hospitalizations in Philadelphia and the region have also been declining. Farley said there are 911 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the city and 1,677 in the Philadelphia region.

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“Overall, it’s a decrease of about 10% since the peak of the epidemic or the surge in the hospitals, and that’s very much a good sign,” Farley said.


Farley added, though, that while things might be looking better, the city is not yet ready to reopen.

“All the data says that, in general, we’re moving in the right direction, that our actions that we’re doing right now are absolutely slowing the spread of the virus. That’s a very good thing,” Farley said. “At the same time, the fact that we have 350 cases in a day means that there are plenty of people out there with this infection so we’re not ready to reopen yet. But, if we want to get to the point when we can safely reopen, we need to continue doing what we’re doing.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Jim Kenney revealed that April tax collections were only about half that of April 2019. Collections totaled $385 million, which is 47 percent lower than the previous April.

“Our anticipation of this level of decline is what led my administration last week to propose a belt-tightening budget for the coming fiscal year. We knew this was coming, and now we have some preliminary numbers that offer proof,” Kenney said.

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Statewide, there are nearly 53,000 COVID-19 cases, with the death toll topping 3,400.