PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s health commissioner revealed Wednesday that the peak of the coronavirus epidemic was worse than what the city had estimated previously after 103 new deaths were reported. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the high number came after the health department matched up the databases of reported COVID-19 cases and death certificates.
The death toll now stands at 1,152 as the number of cases climbed by 227 to 20,359.
“It does say that the peak of the epidemic is worse than we had estimated before and the total number of deaths from the epidemic is higher than we estimated before,” Farley said.
Even though over 100 more deaths were reported, the number of COVID-19-related deaths per day is declining.
Farley said during Wednesday’s briefing that the city is working on putting together its own guidelines on reopening, but no date has been set yet.
“We are working on our own guidelines for how a variety of activities can operate safely,” Farley said, adding that they will also rely on CDC guidelines and adapt them if need be.
“We’re also going to try to give people some very clear advice locally.”
Testing sites around the city will now be highlighted via city social media platforms and automated calls will begin to inform residents where the sites are located.
“We are getting closer to reopening. We clearly don’t have a date yet from which we can move into the yellow phase,” Farley said.
With Memorial Day weekend coming up, Mayor Jim Kenney is urging residents to “resist the temptation” of taking part in large gatherings as the daily case count continues its downward trend.
“The last thing we want to see at this point is a holiday weekend wiping out all that progress. So stay six feet apart, avoid large gatherings, please wear face coverings and make sure you and your loved ones stay safe,” Kenney said.
Kenney added that barbecues, large picnics and group gatherings will not be permitted in Philadelphia parks.