By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was a record-high number of coronavirus cases reported in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia on Friday. There are now more new COVID-19 cases reported daily since the pandemic started and this has officials considering a variety of new restrictions.

This is an unfortunate playbook that’s unfolding in many locations where COVID-19 is spiking. Officials are forced to impose new restrictions. While there are no specifics at this time, it’s now just a matter of time.

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“We do anticipate further rapid increases from the virus, so make no mistake about it, this is a very dangerous period. This is possibly the worst period of the entire epidemic,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “Much of the surge we are going to see over the next few months is going to happen before the vaccine arrives.”

There were dire warnings from Philadelphia’s health commissioner on Friday as COVID-19 cases hit all-time highs. Pennsylvania reported 3,384 new cases and in Philadelphia, 742. This is the biggest daily increase since the pandemic started. As of Friday, Philadelphia has more than 46,900 cases of COVID-19.

“We’re certainly looking at a range of options on restrictions we might want to put in place to try to see if we can slow this virus down,” Farley said. “Everything is on the table right now.”

Officials are trying to figure out how to prevent the outbreaks that are happening mainly at private gatherings. Here’s one example of how the virus is spread.

“She attended a funeral, there was exposed to a family member who had COVID, a few days later, she was still feeling fine and she went to work,” Farley said, “and at work, she exposed five coworkers then she developed symptoms while waiting for test results, spent time with two different friends and five family members.”

COVID-19 is now spreading in every part of the city and among all ages and groups. Young people and minorities are being especially hard hit. Deaths and hospital cases are also increasing but not as bad as before, officials say.

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“We’re identifying more people who have no symptoms or mild symptoms, so a smaller percentage of the people with this infection will die now than they might have in the spring,” Farley said.

Farley says people need to stay home, away from others as much as possible, especially through the holidays with COVID-19 not expected to peak until January or February.

Elsewhere, in New Jersey, 2,200 new coronavirus cases were reported on Friday. Gov. Phil Murphy says he’s still analyzing broader actions that would help curb the second wave of the outbreak.


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Stephanie Stahl