Three out of every four Philadelphians believe people need to wear a mask whenever they leave the house, according to a survey released Wednesday.
“Thank God there’s so many smart people out there,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, who has in the past expressed anger and confusion over people who don’t wear facial coverings.
Women were more likely to agree that people need to wear a mask, with 85 percent supporting the precaution compared to 65 percent of men.
In addition, 86 percent of black residents who responded to the study said following health guidelines is important, compared to 75 percent of the general population. African-Americans have been hit harder by the COVID-19 virus in the city and elsewhere.
“It is clear that the vast majority of Philadelphians do get it,” Kenney said. “They understand the need to follow guidelines for social distancing.”
The survey, conducted by the city and the University of Pennsylvania, polled nearly 700 Philadelphia residents between May 5 and May 8 and weighed the results to reflect the demographics of the city.
City leaders reported 237 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and five deaths, bringing the city’s toll to 1,248. More than half of the fatalities were nursing home residents.
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said he will be closely watching case counts to make sure the city can safely enter the first phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus reopening plan next week.
“If they get worse then we could reconsider that, so it’s not a guarantee that we’ll be ready to go to yellow on June 5,” he said during the city’s daily press briefing. “It’s just if the numbers continue to look good.”
State officials reported 780 additional positive tests and 113 new COVID-19 related deaths.
Nearly 70,000 Pennsylvania residents have been infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic, though it’s estimated that 62 percent of those have now recovered, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said.
“New positive cases reported each day continue to decline,” she said Wednesday. “Regionally, we are seeing some fluctuation of case counts, but overall, they are trending downward.”
Wolf said 80,000 people in Pennsylvania are being tested for COVID-19 every week at more than 300 sites.
There are about 50 testing locations in the city, and, on Tuesday, officials were in North Philadelphia to herald the opening of a new site at Health Center 5, 1900 N. 20th St.
Levine said the state has registered 13 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, an inflammatory condition associated with the coronavirus.
MIS-C has been raising alarm around the country because, while most children recover, it can be deadly. It’s not clear what causes syndrome, though many cases have occurred in kids who have had COVID-19 or been around someone with the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pennsylvania’s MIS-C patients have ranged in age from 11 months to 18 years old, and 10 children across the state are currently being investigated for the condition, Levine said.