The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines for coronavirus testing in order to get more people screened, but Pennsylvania’s lab is still working off the old ones. To prevent the spread of the virus, Montgomery County schools will close for two weeks, and there are even more cancellations, including March Madness and Philly’s Billie Eilish concert.
But there’s not only coronavirus news today. My colleague Jason Laughlin explored a plan to revitalize the North Broad Street corridor. Meanwhile, Atlantic City officials are demanding that the old Trump Plaza casino be torn down. And we talked to the lucky guests who managed to book a night’s stay in Lucy the Elephant.
Federal officials have directed the nation’s doctors to order coronavirus testing for anyone they think needs it. This expands criteria from previous guidelines, which limited testing to people showing symptoms or who had contact with a confirmed case. But days after the new directives were issued, Pennsylvania’s lab is denying physicians access to tests. Testing is an important step in containing the spread of the illness.
While the Pennsylvania Health Department has released data on how many people have been tested, state officials have refused to give out more information about where the infected people are located. Some county officials and lawmakers have called for specifics. But Pennsylvania officials say what they’re collecting falls under a decades-old law that gives them broad discretion to keep information about contagious diseases a secret.
Philadelphia legislators are looking to revive the North Broad Street corridor. It was known a century ago for industry and grand mansions. A bill to create a business improvement district, which can levy funds from property owners to support improvements in the area, is under consideration.
But it’ll take some work for the business owners in the area to get behind it. Philly already has 14 business improvement districts, but more recently proposed ones have been rejected by property owners in the Italian Market and Callowhill areas.
I’m always a sucker for a striking architecture shot and this one is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, @jeffphl!
Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!
“Do your eyes glaze over at the mention of our city’s pension and health care obligations? Well, it may not be the sexiest topic — but it will affect our home values, our schools, and our ability to borrow money and finance important public projects in the future.” — writes Albert Eisenberg, a Philadelphia-based political consultant, on how Mayor Jim Kenney’s legacy could be a flood of debt.
Marian Anderson was born in South Philly and became a famous singer in the 1930s. She’s a civil-rights icon who is most known for her performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. That happened after she was barred from performing at Constitution Hall because she was black. Now, every year, musicians are honored with the Marian Anderson Award for creative or philanthropic contributions that have had a significant societal impact.