Philadelphia will begin to wind down the operation of surge hospital space at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Wednesday, as the rate of new cases of the coronavirus in the city continued to slow.

Farley said admissions will likely stop by early next week, and patients already at the Liacouras Center will remain there until they are healthy enough to go home.

As of Wednesday there were five COVID-19 patients at the Liacouras Center, which was set up to hold at least 200 patients.

“I don’t believe we’ve ever had more than six patients there at a given time,” Farley said.

The city’s hospitals, however, remain busy; there were 1,012 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Philadelphia hospitals, and 1,858 hospitalized in the greater Philadelphia area.

"Those hospitals in the city are busy but clearly they’re able to handle the epidemic at this stage,” Farley said.

Managing Director Brian Abernathy said the city will keep equipment at the center in case of “a return surge of the virus, either as a second wave or just as circumstances change.”

Abernathy said medical workers stationed there, including military personnel, may be redeployed to help at local hospitals.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he was still happy the city used the Liacouras Center to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“Better to build it and they don’t come than to not build it at all,” he said. The number of COVID-19 deaths reported per day in Philadelphia is starting to decline, Farley said, as he reported 25 deaths connected to the coronavirus. The city’s total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic is now 541.

“That is certainly very good news if that does continue to decline,” Farley said.

The city also reported 358 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, which Farley said shows that the number of cases in the city are continuing to slowly drop.

“The decline is unfortunately very slow,” he said.