PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where officials are focused on plans to gradually lift restrictions to safely start reopening the economy, but that depends on cases continuing to go down. Officials in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania say there are some fluctuations in the number of cases, but overall, the indications continue to look positive.

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In Philadelphia, officials are planning to release a detailed plan Friday for reopening, a week ahead of moving into the yellow phase on June 5.

“For Philadelphia residents, it boils down to three things: masks, distance and handwashing,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

Farley says the city’s reopening plans will include a number of safety measures, including things like spacing requirements and plastic shields in business, to control the potential spread of COVID-19.

But moving into the yellow phase of gradual reopening will depend on a continued reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“I don’t want to give people a sense of certainty when there’s always a certain amount of uncertainty,” Farley said.

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Mayor Jim Kenney says there are plans to reopen the economy partially on June 5, as long as there is evidence the virus isn’t spreading more widely.

“It’s complicated, but simple. We don’t want people to get sick and die, thats what we’re worried about,” Kenney said. “You have to determine whether the economy is more important than people’s lives.”

There was no on-camera briefings from Pennsylvania officials today, but the state’s health department says there are 625 new cases, as the statewide total now stands over 70,000.

In New Jersey, there were 1,200 new cases, nearing a total of 160,000.

Both states are now focused on testing and tracing to ensure a safe reopening.

“We’ve worked really hard to get our testing program to where it needs to be and we’re going to continue to work to make it even stronger and more accessible,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.


Officials are encouraging people to get tested. In Pennsylvania, you can be tested if you are symptomatic or been in close contact with someone who’s infected. In New Jersey, anyone can be tested at one of the 208 sites across the state.

Stephanie Stahl