A mask for sale at the city’s new online stor By Kate Dolan Philadelphia ended last week with a slightly higher daily case count of Covid-19, and #MaskUpPHL masks are now available for purchase. …
By Kate Dolan
Philadelphia ended last week with a slightly higher daily case count of Covid-19, and #MaskUpPHL masks are now available for purchase.
“Our case counts fluctuate from day to day, so we need to see a few more days to determine if that’s a trend,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley of the 185 confirmed cases reported at Thursday’s Covid-19 update press conference. On Friday, August 14, the daily case count stood at 147, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Philadelphia to 32,057 since the beginning of the epidemic. There have been 1,715 total deaths.
The rate of positivity in testing reported for the press conference was 5%, also up from the previous week, which saw a positivity rate of 3.6%.
Farley also announced that the masks depicted in the city’s #MaskUpPHL campaign are for sale.
“When we launched our campaign, a number of people asked us, ‘how can I get that mask?’ And to be honest, when we launched the campaign, there wasn’t a mask like that, it was just an image,” said Farley. “But because we’ve gotten interest, we have now created masks.” The masks, which contain one of the campaign’s two slogans, “Love Your Neighbor. Wear a Mask” and “Philly Never Backs Down. Mask Up,” can be purchased at bit.ly/maskupphl, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Black Doctors Covid-19 Consortium, which is providing free testing across the city.
After a question about the effectiveness of neck gaiters as masks at a prior press conference, Farley provided the basic principles of mask usage, for those making their own or looking to purchase masks.
“Tighter mesh is better than looser,” he said. “Hold it up to a light and if you can see lots of light between the weave, it’s probably not as tight as it ought to be.” Masks should hug the cheeks and chin, not allowing for gaps for droplets to escape. The mask should also cover both the mouth and the nose. More detailed guidance is forthcoming as the health department continues to review further mask studies.
Farley discussed ventilation.
“The continued questions, you’ve probably read about, among scientists about whether the virus can spread through the air on what are called aerosols,” Farley said. He defined aerosols as very small droplets that can’t be seen and travel through the air. It is unclear if aerosols can spread the virus and there has not been an outbreak linked to air movement.
“So, let’s call spread through aerosols, not a risk, but a potential risk,” said Farley. “To protect against that potential risk, it does make sense to increase ventilation when it’s possible.”
Guidance to proper ventilation has been posted on the city’s Covid-19 website and Dr. Farley explained that opening windows and/or doors on two sides of a building will promote air flow, providing a basic way to increase ventilation.
Farley suggested that HVAC systems can be set to increase air flow and should allow for a mix of outside air to circulate inside the building. Farley reminded everyone that no matter how good the ventilation, it is not a replacement for wearing a mask and this is still the best way to avoid spread of Covid-19.
See phila.gov/covid-19 for more.