Oh No! It Looks Like Masks Are About to Be Required Indoors in Philly Again
Don't put away that face mask just yet if you're in Philly. Just a few weeks after the citywide mask mandate was lifted, it looks like we could be taking a bit of a step backward in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia's Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said that people should "strongly consider" wearing masks again indoors across the city.
Unfortunately, Dr. Bettigole says that the current trends of the virus seem to be suggesting that the city could experience another COVID-19 wave "sooner rather than later."
The indoor mask requirement was lifted last month when the city issued an updated COVID-19 response system. However, the current case numbers are precariously close to possibly requiring a citywide masking order.
Though, the city's health officials have not officially said that at this point.
Cases Have Increased By More Than 50% This Week
Currently, Philadelphia sits in the "all clear" phase of its four-tier response plan. That means that mitigation efforts such as masks are not required.
That stage of the mitigation stage requires some combination of the following metrics: average cases per day are less than 100, hospitalizations are less than 50, and cases have increased by less than 50% in the previous ten days.
As of April 4, however, the city is precariously close to those metrics reaching an increased mitigation phase.
The city is currently average 94 new cases per day, they say. Hospitalizations are at 48, and the number of cases has increased by more than 50% in the past 10 days.
What's Next If Cases Increase in Philadelphia?
If the city moves to "Level 2: Mask Precautions" that means that residents would be required to wear a mask when indoors in public places. But there would NOT be a vaccine or testing requirement for places serving food and drink.
Meanwhile, the city says to stock back up on home tests & masks.
"Make sure you have a supply of masks and home tests ready in case you need them," Dr. Bettigole says. "And if you haven’t gotten up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccine, there’s still time to do that and help protect yourself and your community today.”
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