The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is planning to resume daily and Sunday Masses on June 6.
Archbishop Nelson Perez made the announcement on the Archdiocese’s Facebook page late Friday night, saying the “projected” reopening was based on Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to move Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs into the “yellow” phase of the state’s color-coded reopening plan by June 5.
“The administration of the Archdiocese has been working in consultation with public health officials to ensure that such a resumption takes place within the context of state approved guidelines and is actively working to provide appropriate guidance to its clergy so that all will be as prepared as possible when the public celebration of Mass begins again,” wrote Perez. “All of us are eager to open the doors of Church wide for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.”
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the Archdiocese put a freeze on public Masses in mid-March, a decision criticized — and publicly protested — by some parishioners.
Farley: Mitigation efforts in Philly have saved thousands of lives
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Saturday that the coronavirus pandemic didn’t hit the city “as hard as we feared.”
“Recent models have shown that, through the actions of everyday Philadelphians, we have saved thousands of lives,” Farley said in a statement.
On Saturday, the city’s Department of Public Health reported 225 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing Philadelphia’s total to 21,234 since the start of the pandemic.
The department has also confirmed 12 additional fatalities, bringing the city’s death toll to 1,233 to date. More than half the deaths were residents at long-term care facilities.
It’s been exactly two months since the city’s stay-at-home order took effect, Farley noted. The city is slated to move into the “yellow” phase of the state’s color-coded reopening plan by June 5.
“As counties move from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said in a statement.
To date, Pennsylvania has reported more than 71,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,000 deaths.
Delaware offers free COVID-19 testing Sunday
The State of Delaware is hosting a free COVID-19 testing event on Sunday at the Dover DMV.
Residents are encouraged to pre-register for the drive-through event, which will provide people with do-it-yourself, saliva-based tests. The Division of Public Health has released videos in English and Spanish that detail how to perform the test.
The testing event comes as Delaware prepares to ease some of its pandemic protocols on June 1.
On Saturday, the Delaware Division of Public Health reported 161 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 8,690 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Two more Delawareans have died from the virus, bringing the First State’s death toll to 324.
More than 80% of Delaware’s positive cases and coronavirus-related deaths are now from Sussex or New Castle counties, which continue to be the hardest-hit areas of the state.
Pa. distributes third shipment of coronavirus drug to treat patients
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday distributed 8,928 more doses of remdesivir to 81 hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals in the Philadelphia area, including Temple University Hospital and Abington Memorial Hospital, received more than one-third of the shipment, the third batch of the antiviral drug sent to the Health Department by the federal government.
The department distributed 1,200 doses to 51 hospitals on May 12. A second shipment of 7,938 doses was sent to 79 hospitals on May 15 and May 18.
A clinical trial of remdesivir, administered through an IV once a day, showed that it can shorten the recovery period for some COVID-19 patients.
Virtual Memorial Day program honors fallen soldiers
Camden County residents searching for ways to honor fallen soldiers this Memorial Day weekend can tune into a prerecorded program created by the Camden County Freeholder Board.
The 12-minute program, available online starting Saturday, includes a rendition of the national anthem, a gun salute, and a keynote address from Camden County Freeholder Melinda Kane.
“We may not be able to gather in person, but there is no crisis, emergency, or circumstances which should prevent our fallen heroes from receiving the honor and memorialization that they deserve,” Kane said in a statement.