Philadelphia Announces First Case of COVID-19 Coronavirus

For immediate release: 03/10/2020

Published by: Board of Health, Managing Director’s Office, Department of Public Health, Office of the Mayor, Office of Emergency Management

Contact: James Garrow at James.Garrow@phila.gov or (215) 200-7901

PHILADELPHIA–The City of Philadelphia has announced that an adult resident has contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is considered a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 coronavirus. The individual is known to have exposure to previously confirmed cases of the virus. The individual is currently isolated at home.

The City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania continue to work hand-in-hand with the hospitals, health systems, and medical community to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in our region. It is expected that more cases of the coronavirus will be identified in Philadelphia and the region and we are working to limit that spread.

“We have said that Philadelphia would see cases of the coronavirus, and now we have our first case in the city,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. “We expect additional cases will be identified. We are continuing to work to identify cases, quarantine individuals who may have been exposed, and contain this virus. The most important thing you can do to help: if you are sick with fever or cough, stay home.  If you think you should be tested, contact your doctor.”

The Health Department additionally is now recommending that Philadelphians consider not attending public gatherings with more than 5,000 expected attendees. This guidance is particularly important for people who have chronic health conditions or are elderly.

“Obviously this is a difficult situation and we certainly recognize that many businesses and individuals rely on these sorts of events for their livelihood,” said Managing Director Brian Abernathy. “But we do so out of an abundance of caution. This also impacts our sports teams, both professional, collegiate and even high school. It is simply far more important at this point in time to keep residents and visitors out of large crowds of that size.”

Residents of Philadelphia are encouraged to take precautions to help keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 coronavirus. There are simple actions that can help prevent the spread of the disease:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available;
  • Do not touch your face with unclean hands;
  • Stay at least six feet away from people who are sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or into your elbow if a tissue is not available;
  • Stay home and away from others if you are sick.

Due to the lessons learned by other cities about COVID-19 coronavirus, the City of Philadelphia anticipates that there will be some level of disruption to residents’ daily lives from this disease. Many people may become sick, or unable to travel. Work may be closed; schools may be closed. The Health Department is not recommending any such response at this time, but it’s important to be prepared if that does happen.

  • Talk with your primary health care provider and pharmacist to see if you can have a 30-day supply of prescription medications for yourself and other household members.
  • Maintain a supply of over-the-counter medications, such as fever-reducing medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol, or other medications that household members use regularly.
  • Store extra water or non-perishable food at home, so you’ll have some if you can’t go grocery shopping.
  • Keep a supply of essential household items, like cleaning products, detergent, pet care items, and diapers, if you have young children.
  • Talk to your employer to find out about working remotely and about sick leave.
  • Check with your child’s school or daycare to find out plans for early dismissals and how urgent information will be communicated.
  • Make arrangements for back-up childcare in the event that your child is sick or school is closed.
  • If you have elderly parents or relatives, consider how you will care for them if they get sick. If they rely on a caregiver, make back-up plans in case that caregiver becomes sick and is unable to work.

You can learn the latest on COVID-19 in Philadelphia on the Health Department’s COVID-19 website. You can learn more about what the Pennsylvania Department of Health is doing in response to COVID-19 on their website.

The city is using a special system to share important information about COVID-19 through free text alerts. You can text the keyword COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive info and updates through ReadyPhiladelphia, the city’s mass communication system.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that hundreds of Americans have been confirmed as having contracted COVID-19 coronavirus, and dozens of people have died from the disease. The World Health Organization has announced more than 100,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide.

###

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.