PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The city of Philadelphia remains in the state’s red phase, despite some promising declines in cases recently. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley discussed the situation in the city on Wednesday morning.
Farley says although the city is seeing a downward trend in cases, it is going to be a while before it can safely reopen.
“The good news is that the worst appears to be behind us. Case counts are falling. Last week, almost every day, we were below 400 cases a day. This week, if we’re lucky, we may be below 300 cases a day. It will take a good bit more decline,” Farley said. “The governor is benchmarking there be 50 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period. That ends up being about 50 cases per day. I can’t say how long it’s going to take us to get there, but somewhere around there before we can really start to reopen things.”
Farley adds that when we do reopen, it must be in stages.
“We need to do this carefully,” he said. “There is no question if we open too quickly, the virus will come roaring back.”
Farley says the city has made a lot of progress when it comes to testing.
“We have about 40 testing sites across the city now. We have expanded our criteria, so anybody at any age that has symptoms typical of the coronavirus can go into one of the sites and be tested,” Farley said. “We are doing about 1,500 tests per day. I would like to get up to 5,000 tests per day.”
Farley says once things reopen, the city cannot go back to how things were before.
“Three main things people will have to get used to is, one of them is wearing a mask, another is keeping a distance from people, that means fewer crowds and physically just keeping your distance from people and another thing is washing your hands so that if you get any of the virus on your hand, you will not get it in your nose or mouth,” Farley said. “The mask may be the thing people have the toughest time getting used to. It’s not something any of us like to do. On the other hand, it makes a huge difference.”
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