In Philadelphia, the incidence of new cases of coronavirus is declining again, but health officials are not yet ready to lift the mask mandate enacted last month amid the surge caused by the delta mutation. ..
Deputy Health Commissioner Cheryl Betigor said Thursday that the latest trend was “reassuring,” but as long as there are coronavirus hotspots and vaccination rates are delayed, new variants will spread and masks will be needed. right.
“We all want to see when we can take off our masks, but I don’t think we’ll be there for a while,” she said.
Betty Goal has a Philadelphia Maskman date, Vaccination obligation It has helped slow the spread of delta variants for healthcare professionals, students, and staff of higher education institutions. Still, she said the case rate remained higher than she wanted, the school was back in session, and cold weather was approaching.
The city has averaged 282 cases per day in the last two weeks, an improvement over 307 cases a week ago. In late June, when there was no limit, the average number of cases per day dropped to just 24. As of Thursday, there were 195 coronavirus patients in a Philadelphia hospital.
The positive rate of coronavirus testing has been 5% in the last two weeks after reaching a high of 7% in late August. But that number is still higher than in early summer, when it was as low as 1%.
“I don’t say [the numbers] It looks good because there are more cases than I expected, but they have flattened out and started to decline a bit, “Bettigor said at a virtual press conference.
The surge at the end of the summer of the incident delayed the reopening of the city. Return workers to the office After Labor Day chooses to stay in a remote location.Philadelphia City Council to start next fall session Canceled plan to meet in person Continue the virtual meeting.
Betty Goal said he promised to put only the minimum limits necessary to slow the spread. However, as the weather changes and schools reopen, health officials are planning another possible surge in cases and hospitalizations.
“As the number of vaccines is increasing, I hope we can make a big avoidance. [fall or winter] It’s skyrocketing, but you’ll see it over time, “she said.
Further restrictions may be added. Authorities have talked about expanding Maskman dating to include outdoor events like Eagles games, Betty Goal said.
Current city Masks required for indoor and unseat outdoor events Concerts etc. This means that masks are not needed at outdoor sports stadiums where fans are allocating seats, such as Lincoln Financial Field. Fans must wear a mask in the indoor area of the stadium. (This obligation also includes the exception of companies that allow vaccination proofs from all staff and patrons to be confirmed and mask requirements waived.)
At the Made in America Music Festival at Benjamin Franklin Parkway over the weekend, Bettigole admitted that many concert attendees did not comply with masking requirements. She said the authorities wanted the outbreak to occur, given that the event took place outdoors and participants had to show evidence of vaccination or negative test results. But she said the city would monitor the new incident to see if it had any impact.
The city is also working with schools to develop regular inspection policies, Betigor said. Health officials have been working on tests in classrooms where children can’t wear masks because of disabilities, as well as children participating in activities that don’t wear masks, such as choirs and playing musical instruments.
“We have more than 100,000 children in school, so we expect to see some cases,” she said. “There are no major outbreaks at this stage, but all of this will have to be managed to keep children in school and learning.”
Immunization rates have increased in recent weeks. Although there were some groundbreaking infections, Bettigole said that “the majority of cases” were in unvaccinated residents.
Nearly 82% of Philadelphia adults are vaccinated at least once, and 67% are fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates are the lowest among young black residents, and Betigor said he also holds the largest share of recent cases. Only 35% of black residents between the ages of 18 and 44 take at least one dose, 55% of white residents of the same age group, 58% of Hispanic residents, and 83% of Asian residents. There is.
Betigor said the vaccination efforts are focused on young black residents. Health officials are also encouraging pregnant women with low vaccination rates to be vaccinated.
Stacy Karem, head of the city’s health department’s maternal and child health department, said less than 25% of pregnant people are vaccinated nationwide.
“And when talking to Philadelphia healthcare providers, I’ve heard that many pregnant patients aren’t vaccinated,” Karem said.
Meanwhile, Betty Goal has expressed his support for President Joe Biden. Increased vaccination obligations for federal staff.
“The more people get vaccinated for some reason, the safer we are,” she said.
And as the summer, which was supposed to represent Philadelphia’s return to normal, is nearing its end, Betty Goal emphasized that it’s hard to know what’s next in the pandemic trajectory.
“I gave up trying to predict the future,” she said.