The latest on COVID-19; updates in and around Philly

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To date, The Pennsylvania Health Department announced there are now 196 COVID-19 cases in the state. There are 890 confirmed cases in New Jersey and 38 cases in Delaware.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close on Thursday, March 19 as the number in the state continues to rise. The criteria for the non-life sustaining businesses can available here.

Several retail merchants, shoe stores, parks, car garages, beauty stores, gyms, and more are closing. Beer distributors and several restaurants will remain open for takeout orders.

Wolf proclaimed, “To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions…This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”

Governor Tom Wolf has empowered the following state agencies and local officials to enforce the closure order:

  • Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine also stated, “Our notable increase in cases over the last few days and our first death in Pennsylvania indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously..Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

The Independence Visitor Center Corporation announced yesterday that it is temporarily closing the following sites in Philadelphia:

  • Independence Hall
  • Liberty Bell Center
  • Independence Visitor Center
  • Independence National Historical Park
  • City Hall Visitor Center
  • Love Park Visitor Center
  • Fashion District Concierge Services
  • Rocky Statue Pop-Up Visitor Center


A drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Citizens Bank Park is opening on Friday, March 20. The number has jumped to 67 positive cases in the city of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, announced 23 new cases during a press conference today.

The Citizens Bank Park site will be open daily from 2 pm to 6 pm and will remain open long as supplies last. Medical staff will be testing symptom-inclined patients during these hours. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health allows for the following patients to be tested:

  • People over the age of 50 years and displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Emergency Medical Services staff
  • Healthcare workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Hospital and doctors office staff with direct patient contact
  • Nursing home staff with direct patient contact
  • Home healthcare staff with direct patient contact

Walk-ins will not be permitted access. Only those in commercial vehicles who fall into the above criteria will be tested.

You can follow Candis McLean on Twitter (@CandisRMcLean) and e-mail her at

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