City reports data reconciliation that adds 78 COVID-19 deaths to city totals; plans in works for contact tracing

Posted 5/13/20

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced 78 additional deaths in the city due to COVID-19, but said the number was due to a database reconciliation in which some cases …

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City reports data reconciliation that adds 78 COVID-19 deaths to city totals; plans in works for contact tracing

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Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced 78 additional deaths in the city due to COVID-19, but said the number was due to a database reconciliation in which some cases recorded only as positive instances of COVID-19 were actually deaths due to the disease. He said a majority of those 78deaths took place between April 21 and May 7.

The total number of Philadelphians to have died from COVID-19 now stands at 986. Of the 986 total deaths, Farley said 528 were nursing home residents. The city added data on nursing homes to its COVID-19 data site here.

Farley also announced 242 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the city since the pandemic began to 18,779.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 continued to decline with 741 patients in city hospitals and 1,421 in hospitals across the southeast Pennsylvania region.

Farley said that all the trends in city data show a disease that is slowly being beaten in the city but cautioned that declining cases did not mean the virus would simply disappear.

"Success doesn’t mean no virus," Farley said." What success is that the virus is in such a low level that people can carry on and people can return to normal activities in a safe way."

Farley said that the city was planning for that future by increasing testing and developing a procedure for contact tracing, in which anyone tested positive for COVID-19 would be interviewed by city health officials in order to identify and isolate others who may have been exposed to the disease by that person.

Those plans require interview protocols, data management software and manpower, Farley said. He said he hoped to share more details of those plans in the future once they are firmly established.

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