Philadelphia health officials say 'yellow' reopening phase is going well with no spike in cases

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Philadelphia officials say the first week of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions appears to be going well, with no spikes in new cases despite massive protests just before the city entered the “yellow” phase of the reopening process.

New cases in Philadelphia have hovered around 130 a day for almost two weeks, down from a peak of more than 600 cases. 

Health Commissioner Tom Farley said other indicators show consistent improvement as well.

“We’re also seeing very low numbers of people coming into hospital emergency departments with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus infections. That’s one of our early warning signs we’re watching closely and it’s good that number is still down,” he said. 

Perhaps the biggest improvement has been in what were once the hotspots.

“The majority of nursing homes in the city now have been two weeks since they’ve seen a case,” he explained. 

Farley said he will be watching for new cases related to the George Floyd protests for at least another week, but so far, they haven’t created a spike.

If the trend continues, he said the city should be on track to move to full reopening this summer.

“The minimum amount of time we’d need to move to ‘green’ is three weeks after we went to ‘yellow.’ I doubt we’re going to be there that soon but hopefully not too far after that,” he said.