Pizza shop

A pizza shop on 12th Street in Center City Philadelphia was boarded up during non-essential business shutdown orders aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19. — WHYY Photo/Kimberly Paynter

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 88,074 coronavirus cases since the coronavirus pandemic began, and 6,712 deaths.

Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health has reported 26,400 cases and 1,614 deaths as of Thursday.

Philly experiencing ‘second wave’ of coronavirus

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Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Thursday that Philadelphia is experiencing a “second wave” of coronavirus infections, adding that residents will be living with the coronavirus “for a long time” — at least until researchers develop a vaccine.

“We may have some tough months ahead, but there will be an end to it overall,” said Farley.

Philadelphia has now recorded 26,400 positive cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic in March.

Daily case counts were on the decline, but have stopped dropping over the last two weeks. The city is now reporting an average of 110 new positive cases of COVID-19 per day, said Farley.

A third of new cases over the last two weeks are people who are under 30.

“And we continue to get reports of people with infection who have traveled, before they got infected, to the New Jersey shore,” said Farley.

To date, the city has recorded 1,614 coronavirus-related deaths. Roughly half of them were nursing home residents.

Mayor Jim Kenney has issued an executive order mandating that residents wear masks when they’re in public and can’t social distance, as well as inside any indoor location.

Gov. Tom Wolf has issued a similar order for all of Pennsylvania.

New city program launched to support reopening businesses

The City of Philadelphia is partnering with the North Broad Renaissance, a nonprofit rooted in community revitalization, to help support local businesses as they prepare to gradually reopen.

In the coming weeks, the collaboration will post an online pledge for businesses to follow the city’s safety guidelines; distribute personal protective equipment; and offer digital posters about social distancing and safety precautions that businesses can download and hang in their establishments.

“Our neighborhood businesses are eager to reopen after the devastating economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shalimar Thomas, executive director of the North Broad Renaissance, said in a statement. “As Philadelphia begins its gradual reopening, it is vital that standards are put in place — and followed — so employees and the public are safe, while protecting the health and economic vitality of our communities.”

To bolster the partnership, Visit Philadelphia is releasing an online resource guide highlighting commercial corridors in nearly 20 city neighborhoods, as well as four surrounding counties.

Philadelphia was expected to move into the green phase of its reopening plan on Friday. City officials have since that pushed back to Aug. 1 — at the earliest — after the daily count of new coronavirus cases stopped dropping.

Under the city’s plan, officials want to see fewer than 80 new positive cases of COVID-19 a day before the green phase can start. There were 124 additional confirmed cases on Wednesday and 142 on Tuesday.

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