PHILADELPHIA — City businesses could be slower to reopen than those in the rest of the state, Mayor Jim Kenney said Monday.
“The Southeast region of Pennsylvania has different challenges than a county in Central Pennsylvania or the northern tier,” Kenney said. “So I don’t suspect on May 8 there’s going to be a light switch flipped, and everything goes back to normal.”
Kenney said city officials and the leaders of the four suburban counties have been working together and discussing their needs. “We’ve articulated that to the governor as a group and the governor recognizes… that the Southeast region is certainly different — more compact and more dense than other parts of the state — and we’ll roll this out based on all those factors.”
City health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Philadelphia is “seeing a lower number of cases and deaths identified, but we’re seeing continued increases in the number of people with infection in the city.”
The Department of Public Health reported 339 new presumptive confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Philadelphia, increasing the number of confirmed cases by 3.67% to 9,553.
Farley also confirmed five additional fatalities in Philadelphia, bringing the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia up 1.37% to 370. Of the 370 total deaths, 193 (52%) were long-term care facility residents.
“That’s a lower number than we’ve had in the past,” Farley said. “No death is something we want to accept, but it’s good to see lower numbers.”
The field hospital at the Liacouras Center has accepted its first patient, officials said, but they provided no further details. The Liacouras Center, on the campus of Temple University, has been designated for patients with the coronavirus infection who have passed the worst phase of their disease, but are not yet ready to go home.
Kimberly C. Roberts is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.