Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said today, March 20, that the city had confirmed 23 new cases of COVID-19 since 1 p.m. yesterday. That brings the city’s total number of cases to 67.
Of those 67, One is under 20, 35 are between the ages of 20 and 29, 18 are between 40 and 59, 11 are 60 and older. The number of individuals hospitalized remained at eight.
Farley corrected a statement he had made yesterday that 20 of the total cases were healthcare workers. The current number is actually 10, he said.
Farley reiterated what he has said over the last several days that Philadelphia in a “rapid growth phase” of the disease and that he expected numbers of those infected to continue to increase dramatically.
He said that people should continue to observe social distancing, staying home as much as possible and doing what they can to keep other people and themselves safe.
“Most people will have mild or not notice symptoms at all,” he said. “However, this infection can get very serious and some will need hospital care.”
Farley said the city is seeing improvements in testing with an increase of testing sites to 20 from 14 just two days ago. More are expected to be operational early next week. The city tested 1,000 people yesterday.
Most healthcare providers now have facilities set up to provide tests, but Farley said test kits continue to be in limited supply and that testing would be prioritized for people older than 50 and those with significant symptoms.
Fareley said people with symptoms — dry caugh and fever — who are young and healthy and don’t have difficulty breathing, do not need to test, but should self-isolate.
People who do have symptoms should, however, contact their primary care provider to be evaluated over the phone. Those without a primary care provider should contact the last facility at which they received care.
All systems have mechanisms for you to speak to someone in advance. Penn and Jefferson have telemedicine abilities. Temple has a hotline. Go to their websites.
For those who can’t get testing at a local site can use one the city opened today at Citizen’s Bank Park. Farley said appointments aren’t necessary, but said the city would prioriotize who to test and would refuse to test people that didn’t meet the criteria above.
The priorities for the new site is to test healthcare workers and people over 50 with symptoms.