Second FEMA vaccination site to open in North Philly
"This new vaccination center ... will allow us to better reach under-vaccinated populations, particularly residents of color," said Mayor Jim Kenney.
A second vaccination site run by the federal government will open in North Philadelphia next week, city officials announced Monday.
The clinic, at Esperanza Inc., a nonprofit that serves Philadelphia’s Hispanic community, will deliver 1,500 to 2,500 vaccinations per day. Officials said an exact opening date has not been determined, and they have not yet released information about making appointments at that site.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will staff the site, with assistance from the city and the state.
“This new vaccination center is particularly important because it will allow us to better reach under-vaccinated populations, particularly residents of color,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a news release.
City officials said they selected the Esperanza site, at North 5th Street and West Hunting Park Avenue, because it is in a zip code that is in the bottom third of vaccinations in the city, and near other zip codes where the city needs to improve vaccination rates. Esperanza is also a “trusted institution” in Philadelphia’s Latin American community, officials said, and staff at the vaccination site will be able to assist residents in several languages.
FEMA opened its first mass vaccination clinic in Philadelphia at the Convention Center earlier this month. That site vaccinates about 6,000 people per day and last week shifted to giving second doses only. In its first two weeks that site widened the racial disparity of who is receiving vaccinations. The city then opened the site to residents from under-vaccinated zip codes for six days, in an effort to improve racial equity.
The announcement of the second FEMA site came as new cases of the virus have been increasing in the city, with health officials warning that residents must continue taking precautions.
On Monday, Philadelphia announced 1,240 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, representing test results reported since Friday. For the sake of comparison, last Monday the city reported 934 new cases over the same three-day period.
As of Monday there were 429 coronavirus patients in Philadelphia hospitals, with 44 of them on ventilators. That’s an increase of 40% compared with last Monday, when 305 patients were hospitalized in the city with COVID-19.
More developments on the virus from Monday:
New Jersey to loosen some gathering restrictions
The limit for outdoor gatherings in New Jersey will expand to 200 people, up from 50, starting Friday, an effort that Gov. Phil Murphy said was aimed at “pushing people outdoors.”
The general indoor gathering limit will remain at 25 people. The limits do not apply to weddings, funerals, religious services, or political activities.
“As the weather gets warmer, we are urging everyone to engage in social activities outside whenever possible,” Murphy said. “Any type of larger gathering is safer for everyone if it can be held outside.”
The state will also allow large indoor venues to host crowds of up to 20% of capacity, up from 10%.
Pa. and N.J. cases and hospitalizations continue to rise
COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, part of a national trend as variants spread and mitigation efforts are relaxed.
Pennsylvania reported more than 10,000 new cases since Friday and is now averaging more than 3,800 infections a day over the last seven days, according to an Inquirer analysis. That’s an increase of 54% over the last two weeks. COVID-19 hospitalizations are also on the rise again, with 1,856 patients hospitalized from the virus on Monday, up from 1,433 patients two weeks ago.
New Jersey on Monday added 3,174 new cases and 16 deaths. The transmission rate has remained above 1 in recent weeks, meaning each new case is leading to at least one more infection. Hospitalizations have ticked up in recent weeks but are still relatively stable.
Chester County launches new vaccine registration system
The Chester County Health Department on Monday launched a new vaccine registration system that will help get 1A residents who want a shot scheduled for an appointment by the state’s Wednesday deadline.
The county said everyone in 1A who registered with the county should receive an email that directs them to create a password with its new system and schedule an appointment. After they’ve received an invitation, they can also schedule their vaccine appointments through the Chester County call center at 610-344-6225. Everyone who has previously registered with the county has been moved to the new system, with their “place in line” preserved, officials said.
Staff writers Allison Steele, Rob Tornoe, and Erin McCarthy contributed to this article.