Officials say the individual is known to have exposure to previously confirmed cases of the virus and is currently isolated at home.
“We have said that Philadelphia would see cases of the coronavirus, and now we have our first case in the city,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “We expect additional cases will be identified. We are continuing to work to identify cases, quarantine individuals who may have been exposed, and contain this virus. The most important thing you can do to help: if you are sick with fever or cough, stay home. If you think you should be tested, contact your doctor.”
The Philadelphia Health Department is recommending that people consider not attending public gatherings with more than 5,000 expected attendees. According to officials, the guidance is particularly important for people who have chronic health conditions or are elderly.
The city is using a special system to share important information about COVID-19 through free text alerts. You can text the keyword COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive info and updates through ReadyPhiladelphia, the city’s mass communication system.
FULL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS
On Tuesday, the state Department of Health reported another positive test for COVID-19 out of Montgomery County. That resident is hospitalized, as were at least three others who tested positive.
A look at the latest developments in the spread of the new coronavirus in Pennsylvania:
WHAT WE KNOW
All 12 people who tested positive live in eastern Pennsylvania.
Eight are residents of Montgomery County, including a cardiologist working for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at a King of Prussia facility. Others are residents of Monroe, Delaware and Wayne counties. Those who are not hospitalized are at home in isolation, officials said.
Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the state isn’t recommending that large gatherings be canceled.
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round magenta objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
The Department of Health is giving few details about patients. It is not saying how many samples it is testing, how many negative tests it has taken or how many people it is monitoring under quarantine. It is also not saying where precisely someone traveled when they were exposed.
At least three medical personnel who treated people who tested positive have also been quarantined, newspapers have reported.
The 2020 Northeast Regional Science Olympiad at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, an annual event scheduled for Wednesday that draws more than 800 students in the region, was canceled.
The University of Pennsylvania is preparing to move classes online, if necessary, and is prohibiting all future university-related travel and curtailing large university events at least until April 17. It is strongly recommending canceling or postponing university meetings or events of 100 people or more, and meetings that include people from other cities and countries, even if fewer than 100 people.
Penn Medicine has prohibited all faculty, students and staff of both the Perelman School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Health System from participating in large gatherings.
Microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)
The state has a lab in Exton, in suburban Philadelphia, that can make use of new equipment to boost its capacity to test up to 150 people a day from up to 25 people a day. Private labs and academic medical centers are starting to administer tests or will start soon.
All major health insurers providing comprehensive medical coverage in the state will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 testing and treatment, including waiving cost-sharing for testing, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has said.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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