TL;DR: Coronavirus cases have been on the rise for weeks now and on Friday, Pennsylvania reported its highest daily number of any 24-hour period during the pandemic. “I think the term of COVID fatigue is definitely setting in,” said Dr. Shawn Quinn, President of the Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians. Even with this rise, this region is better equipped than most to handle any large increase in gravely ill patients. Here’s why.

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

📈 Philadelphia reported nearly 400 new cases Friday, causing Health Commissioner Thomas Farley to warn the virus is “growing rapidly in our region.”

🔴 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says targeted restrictions are possible in an effort to curb the spread. But the commonwealth is waiving 2021 liquor license fees to help cash-strapped restaurants and bars.

📚 More than 100 COVID-19 cases have been linked to outbreaks in 25 New Jersey school districts as of Friday. Here are the South Jersey schools with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

🏞️ There’s been a big increase in visits to Pennsylvania state parks during the pandemic, and the more remote the better.

🎄 Macy’s beloved light show in Center City will go virtual this year. No Dickens' Village display or Santa Claus, either.

📰 What’s going on in your county or neighborhood? We organized recent coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by local counties and Philly neighborhoods mentioned in the stories to make it easier for you to find the info you care about.

Local coronavirus cases

📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.

Pa. hits its pandemic high of cases reported in a single day

Local and state officials have been warning for weeks now that coronavirus cases are on the rise and on Friday, Pennsylvania reported 2,219 new cases — its highest daily number of any 24-hour period during the pandemic. While more widely available testing partly explains the high count, the state’s positivity rate, or percent of tests coming back positive, is at 5% for the past seven days, reaching a benchmark that epidemiologists say indicates a troubling level of community spread. “I think the term of COVID fatigue is definitely setting in,” said Dr. Shawn Quinn, President of the Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians. “People are sick of COVID.”

One benefit of living in and around Philadelphia during a pandemic: hospitals

Coronavirus cases are rising here, and across the country, but the Philadelphia region is better equipped than most to handle any large increase in gravely ill patients. My colleague Tom Avril explains that because of the concentration of hospitals in this region, Pennsylvania has 3,600 intensive-care beds — about 3 per 10,000 population. Other states, including Alaska, South Dakota, and Wyoming, have fewer than two ICU beds per 10,000 people. Some poorer rural communities have zero. Read more here.

Helpful resources

You got this: Check out peak foliage in Philly

Itching to go outside and see some beautiful foliage? Here’s what my colleague Anthony R. Wood says about this weekend’s forecast: “The weather this weekend should be ideal for admiring leaves that have yielded to the same pigments that color pumpkins, apples, and corn. Saturday afternoon should be balmy and sunny, and after a front routs this tepid, humid air mass, Sunday will be a textbook autumn day with sun and highs in the 50s." Read more here.

💰 Yes, it’s OK to use cash again.

📝 In this year of COVID, we all have a story to tell. Get help shaping yours at The Inquirer’s writing workshop.

🚘 What to do for a day trip: A guide to Lancaster city

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at health@inquirer.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

What we’re paying attention to

  • The Atlantic reports that the United States is heading into what could become the largest coronavirus surge of the pandemic so far. Here is how it could define the next four years.

  • The pandemic has disproportionally pushed women out of the workforce. The New Yorker talks with Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan professor of public policy and economics, about why this is happening.

  • BillyPenn reports on how “in low-turnout North Philly, voters battle misinformation to get out and vote early” amid new protocols.

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