PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s no evidence that COVID-19 is getting worse in the tri-state region. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware all continue to see a reduction in cases and are headed into different phases of reopening.
The feared increase in cases of COVID-19 related to protests has not happened yet. Health officials say they won’t know for sure until next week.
“We have slowed the rate of transmission to one of the lowest in the entire country,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Noting that it’s been 100 days since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Jersey, Murphy says the state will move to the next stage of reopening as the numbers have continued to decline.
“We’ve gone through hell. Please, let’s not go back through it,” Murphy said.
With limited business open now, most of the restrictions in New Jersey will be lifted on June 22.
“Our residents have done a tremendous job in fighting this virus. We’ve broken the curve, we’re definitely on the downside,” Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said.
Across the bridge in Philadelphia, there’s also progress against COVID-19.
“Remember three things at all times — masks, distance from other people and hand washing,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The health commissioner says emergency department visits related to the virus, a key indicator, are down significantly.
And concerns about a potential spike in cases related to the protests has not happened.
“All of our numbers we’re looking at so far are saying there’s no evidence of transmission yet. Now, it’s still early, we’re going to have to watch this for at least another week but so far, so good,” Farley said.
Farley says the earliest Philadelphia could move from the yellow phase to green would be June 26 — three weeks after starting the yellow phase.
“We will advance to green as soon as we feel there’s a safety level that makes us comfortable doing that. Every step along the way we are balancing out the risk of the virus with the very real problems associated with the shutdown,” Farley said.
In neighboring Bucks County, the spread of the virus has stabilized.
“We are ready to move to green as soon as the governor lets us,” Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker said.
Montgomery County says it’s not quite ready to move to green because positive tests there are still over 10%. Officials are hoping for early July to reopen.
The lifting of restrictions elsewhere depends on a continued reduction of COVID-19 cases and that could always change.