PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Local officials are reacting to the summer surge of COVID-19 as substantial transmission levels are now widespread in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. This means everyone should be wearing masks inside public locations, regardless of vaccination status, according to federal and local recommendations.
Vaccination rates in the tri-state region are better than in many other parts of the country, but COVID cases are rising anyway.READ MORE: President Biden Approves Disaster Funding For Two More Pennsylvania Counties
There are no new restrictions coming from Philadelphia officials as of Tuesday morning, but Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole says it is a fluid situation and nothing is off the table.
“The pandemic in Philadelphia has taken a turn that none of us wanted to see,” Bettigole said. “I’m concerned about how quickly those numbers have risen. There are lots of things we’re discussing as we look at the numbers with concern.”
Philadelphia has seen a steady increase of COVID-19 cases now driven by the more contagious Delta variant, hospital rates are also up.
But, Bettigole said the city is not considering new mandates to require vaccinations or masking. They are strongly recommending other precautions.
“Vaccines, mask use, avoiding crowds, testing, isolation, and quarantine have a solid science behind them,” Bettigole said.
She says the case increases are happening mainly in low-income neighborhoods, where vaccination rates are low. It’s also on the rise among younger people between the ages of 20 to 34.READ MORE: 'My House Was Targeted': Philadelphia Anti-Violence Activist Speaks Out After Home Firebombed
Vaccination rates have improved slightly and while the shots guard against serious illness, they don’t prevent people from getting and spreading the virus.
The CDC tracking map shows substantial transmission levels in and around the Philadelphia region, in all three states.
Penn cases are up significantly with more than 1,400 new daily cases.
In Camden County, which includes Cherry Hill, COVID cases are up 78% in the last week.
“We have trouble brewing as we enter the school year, this is not going in the right direction,” Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli said. “Unfortunately, this pandemic is far from over.”
In Delaware, also with the highest case rates since May, the department of health updated guidance saying people who are not vaccinated should get tested once a week.MORE NEWS: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl contributed to this report.