There’s an increase in coronavirus cases, Philadelphia, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Friday as he announced increases in new cases, implemented a requirement for all residents to wear masks, and said he would reconsider whether the city can move into the “green” phase next week.
”Cases in the community are no longer decreasing,” Farley said, as he announced 143 new cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia residents Friday.
Masks are now mandatory in Philadelphia for people at all indoor public places or when outdoors near people who are not members of one’s own household, Farley said.
Philadelphia officials will reconsider moving into the “green” phase next week and allowing more businesses to open.
”‘We are going to reconsider and determine what, if anything, of that next batch can reopen on Friday,” he said.
Farley said that some additional activities could reopen safely “if we are really vigilant about the mask use.” But others, such as indoor dining at restaurants, may not be able to resume. City officials had set a target of reaching 80 cases per day in order to move into the “green” phase of reopening. In the past week the daily case count has averaged more than 100, Farley said.
”I don’t think [new cases] are rising fast, but they do appear to be increasing,” he said.
Farley said officials have noted spikes in teens ages 16 to 19, which appear to be linked to social gatherings.
And as cases rise at a faster rate in many other states, Farley said that wave “will inevitably hit Philadelphia to some degree.”
This order came hours after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that it would ease its mask requirements for attending Mass. Farley said he had not seen the new guidance from the Archdiocese, which said that masks would now be recommended rather than required.
”I would hope the Archdiocese would take this very seriously and require everyone in those services to wear masks,” he said.
Farley said that religious services are “particularly high risk” for spreading the coronavirus and noted that several outbreaks of the virus can be linked to religious gatherings.