COVID-19 in Philly: Officials consider using force to quarantine individuals who get coronavirus, but refuse care

    The Philadelphia Skyline from the 'Rocky Steps' at the Philly Art Museum. Photo by Steve Lange, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

    By Michael D’Onofrio

    PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration has not ruled out quarantining individuals against their will if they test positive for the novel coronavirus but refuse care.

    “In some cases, if it’s to stop the spread of the disease, yes, we may end up at that point,” city Managing Director Brian Abernathy said about forcibly quarantining individuals.

    The administration was reviewing its legal options to determine how to respond to individuals who test positive for the virus but refuse to be quarantined.

    Renters remain in limbo

    The Kenney administration this week pushed back deadlines for property taxes and some business taxes.

    But protections for renters remain unaddressed as the end of the month approaches and rents will be due.

    At the administration’s daily news conference on Tuesday, Kenney called on landlords to be “mature, be responsible, be a good citizen and try to do your best to get us all through this situation.”

    Legal evictions are banned due to the closure of city courts through April 3.

    Prison population

    No confirmed cases of the coronavirus have infected the city’s jail population, Abernathy said on Tuesday.

    First responders

    The Kenney administration was not aware of a “significant number” of police and firefighters who were out of work due to the coronavirus, Abernathy said Tuesday.

    The administration continued to refuse to reveal how many first responders have tested positive for the virus.

    Michael D’Onofrio is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.