Philadelphia officials urge indoor masking

Pearl Werner, 13, receives a coronavirus vaccine at a clinic run by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in partnership with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to encourage all eligible teenagers to get vaccinated in Philadelphia.
REUTERS/Hannah Beier

In response to the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Philadelphia, the Health Department has developed new recommendations that Philadelphians should follow to help stop the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The most important way to combat the virus is for all eligible people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Officials also strongly recommend that everyone, including fully vaccinated people, wear masks in all public indoor places and choose outdoor spaces when possible. Philadelphians are also encouraged to avoid crowded indoor areas and always wear a face covering around people you don’t know are vaccinated.

According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, as of July 22, the total number of fully vaccinated Philadelphians is currently at least 754,821, and the number of Philadelphians with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is at least 917,771. Currently, 60.8 percent of Philadelphia adults are fully vaccinated, and 73.9 percent of Philadelphia adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Over one million people have been vaccinated in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement. “The numbers make it clear: vaccinations are the best way to combat COVID-19 by protecting ourselves and the people around us. I’m grateful for all the partners who have helped us reach this milestone by organizing and staffing vaccination clinics, educating the public about the benefits of vaccination, and picking up the phones and going door-to-door to help people learn how to get their vaccine.

“We’re still giving out thousands of doses every week. We will continue to vaccinate anyone who is ready, and encourage them to join the million-plus people who received this life-saving vaccine in Philadelphia.”

The Department of Public Health reports 55 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with one on a ventilator. In the last two weeks, two percent of COVID-19 tests in Philadelphia have come back positive. Thus far during the pandemic, 146,142 Philadelphians have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 3,763  have succumbed to the virus. Philadelphia is averaging 64 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the last two weeks.

“We are seeing a small but disturbing increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 among children in Philadelphia, along with more than a doubling of cases in the city,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “It’s time for all of us to do what we need to do to protect our city’s kids. That means  getting fully vaccinated if you haven’t yet, and it means all of us going back to wearing masks in public. Kids under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated. They need you to step up. If you still have questions you need answered, call your doctor or our health department staff and get the information you need. And then get it done.”

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