Mar 25, 2020
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney News Conference Amid COVID-19 Pandemic March 25
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney held a press briefing on March 25 on coronavirus in the city. The first death from the virus in the city was reported today. Read the full transcript here.
Mayor Jim Kenney: (00:00)
… cities as expeditiously as possible. I want to thank the democratic leadership on Capitol Hill. This package is a significant improvement over what was originally proposed by Senator McConnell primarily because of the direct aid to cities. There’s a lot more in this package and our team is still pouring over the details, but at first glance I can tell you this package is a significant step toward ensuring that all Americans, including Philadelphians are able to weather the economic hardships of this pandemic. And now I ask Dr. Farley to give us our daily update.
Dr. Farley: (00:42)
Thank you mayor and thank you all for joining. I want to give you the latest health update for Philadelphia. Since our briefing yesterday we’ve had 93 cases of the COVID coronavirus reported in city Philadelphia, bringing our total now to 342 cases. Now if you’ve been following closely, you may see that there’s a little discrepancy between the number of new cases and how many cases were reported yesterday and our total today. What happens is I’m trying to give everyone the latest data we have, but as cases come in they are sometimes reassigned to other counties or cases initially reported other counties are reassigned to Philadelphia. So our total may be a little different from adding up our new cases today to our total yesterday, but the total I’m giving you is the most accurate count we have right now.
Dr. Farley: (01:29)
As you can see, this is an increase from yesterday and overall this disease is increasing rapidly in Philadelphia. Here are details on the 342 persons who have been reported so far. 12 of them were under the age of 20, 163 were between the ages of 20 and 39, 85 were between the ages of 40 and 59, and 82 were over the age of 60. And of that group, 37 were known to be healthcare workers. As the mayor said, among these cases, we now have the first confirmed death from the COVID coronavirus in Philadelphia. Every death is a tragedy. We don’t want to discuss this as just simply statistics. I don’t have the details and will not give you the details of the specific person for the privacy and confidentiality of the person and the family members, but I can say this was a male in his 50’s who had an underlying medical condition. This is the first first death in Philadelphia and as the mayor said, we certainly expect more deaths in the future.
Dr. Farley: (02:40)
We can’t save everyone, we want to save as many people as possible, which is why we’re taking all these steps we can to try to slow the spread of this infection. Among them is testing people who may be at risk. Just an update on that. Most hospitals in the city have testing available. There are more than 20 sites in the city, but their testing is limited by the availability of test kits and by the availability of personal protective equipment for the staff who are working there. So these hospitals have established criteria for who they will test and it’s done by referral. So if you want to get tested at one of these sites, you have to contact a physician at one of these sites for that referral. In general, testing is appropriate for people who have symptoms of the coronavirus infection who are either healthcare workers or above the age of 50. If you go to our website, there is more detailed guidance about whether you should be tested and if so how you can get a test.
Dr. Farley: (03:33)
One of the sites we have is Citizens Bank Park that the city of Philadelphia is working with federal and state partners to operate. Yesterday that site tested 153 people. Today because it’s going to be raining all afternoon and it because the last time we tried it in the rain it did not work out well, it will be canceled. However, we will be in operation tomorrow from 1:00 to 6:00 PM and we hope every day from 1:00 to 6:00 PM. Now with the increasing number of positives that we are reporting today we will have and we’ll continue to have more positives of people who have been working. And so there’ll be situations of someone who was in a workplace who now has a positive coronavirus test. Eventually I would say most workplaces that are still in operation will have at least one employee who was positive.
Dr. Farley: (04:17)
Now most of those employees are probably exposed at home. That’s what we find evidence from in countries that most people with this infection in general expose at home. But we’ll never know and for an individual case where that employee was exposed to this virus. If an employee test positive, there is guidance at our website as to what can be done at their workplace to see what other employees may have been exposed and to take steps to try to prevent transmission to those other employees and transmission to other employees who were exposed to those employees. In general, if an employee or another person was in contact with the person who had a positive test for more than 10 minutes the distance of six feet or less, then they would be considered a medium or high risk person who should quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure. People who have less exposure than that, just simply monitor for symptoms and be very quick to avoid the workplace or contact with other people if they have symptoms. Environmental cleaning needs to be done, but it’s basic environmental cleaning. There’s no special procedures that need to be taken under that circumstance.
Dr. Farley: (05:24)
Now the City of Philadelphia has many employees and so we expect that there will be cases in city employees and indeed we have had now cases in city employees. We now have had at least one case among civilian city employees, among members of the police force and members of the fire department and the city will follow its own guidance in working with employees that may have been exposed to those employees to protect their health and to prevent transmission to other people who work for the city.
Dr. Farley: (05:52)
Let me just remind everybody again, we can’t say it often enough what everyone ought to do to stay safe. If you are not essential at work, if you’re not required to be at work, stay home. If you must go out, for example, you have to work, then keep your distance from other people and wash your hands. And then most important have to say as many times as we can, if you’re sick with fever or respiratory symptoms, it’s particularly important to stay home. You don’t want to spread this infection to others.
Dr. Farley: (06:19)
Now last night the task force at the federal level that is overseeing the COVID response made a recommendation that people who were in New York City and they traveled to other places go into quarantine on their own for 14 days. We think that this advice makes sense. New York City is seeing a very rapid increase in cases, more than 2,500 cases per day in the city alone. And as the city that is the closest to New York City amongst the cities in this nation, we want to limit as much as possible the spread of infection among people who have traveled between the two places. And there are many people who do travel between the two places.
Dr. Farley: (06:59)
So the city will be posting today recommendations that if you have traveled to the metropolitan New York City area in the previous 14 days, in the last 14 days to go on your own into quarantine for 14 days. What do we mean by quarantine for 14 days? That means, because we’re all in a sense in semi quarantine, it means that you’d be particularly careful and vigilant that you stay inside for that 14 day period. Have someone deliver food to you, someone deliver whatever else you need. You stay inside so you’re not in contact with anyone else, if at all possible including your family members. When I say the metropolitan New York City area, the counties that we’re talking about are the five boroughs of New York City plus Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County in New York State and Bergen County in New York City. So if you have lived in those counties or if you’ve even traveled in those counties in the last 14 days and you’re now in the Philadelphia area, we request and recommend that you go into quarantine for 14 days since the last time you were there.
Dr. Farley: (08:04)
In general, if you want to help with the city with this response, you can look into our Medical Reserve Corps. We have an interest in doctors and nurses and also people who are not clinically trained to help in a variety of roles. Go to www.phila.gov/MRC for Medical Reserve Corps. I was asked yesterday how many people have signed up. And since the emergency began, we have more than 900 volunteers who have registered, which we think is wonderful. We are putting those volunteers to good use. So if you want to help out, go to that website and register. If you want more information about the city’s response to the crisis, www.phila.gov/COVID-19 or even just COVID or COVID-19. All three of them should go to the same site. And if you have medical questions, 1-800-722-7112. Thanks very much and I’m going to turn now to Tara Cruz will give you this information in Spanish.
Tara Cruz: (08:56)
[foreign language 00:09:01]
Speaker 1: (12:01)
Dr. Farley: (14:26)
We’re happy to answer any questions now for people regarding medical issues, in English or Spanish.
Okay, thank you. We are going to now take questions. As we have reiterated, we will unmute your microphone when it’s time for Q and A. If you want to use the raise your hand function, which is under participants, please press that and we’ll be able to get it to you. We do have a limited time, so please limit your questions to the one to three most important. Thank you. First, we’re going to [Sean Walsh 00:15:04] at the Inquirer.
Sean Walsh: (15:05)
Hi, thanks very much. I was wondering if there was someone there who could update us on the negotiations over at Hahnemann Hospital? In particular, what would it cost for the city to get [inaudible 00:15:19]?
Dr. Farley: (15:18)
I see a name on the screen here, but I don’t hear any audio. So, if you’re asking a question, we can’t hear it. Sorry, we’re going to try to work that out.
Sean Walsh: (15:27)
All right. [inaudible 00:15:27].
Yeah, Sean, we can’t hear you.
Speaker 2: (15:50)
Have you guys tried making sure the audio cable is leaning on the left and the right hand side of the [crosstalk 00:15:56]?
Dr. Farley: (15:55)
Should we go on with other [crosstalk 00:15:58] talking points and come back.
Sean, just one second. We’ll move on. I’ll [inaudible 00:16:03].
Claudia Lauer: (16:16)
Hey, can you hear me? Hi?
Speaker 2: (16:17)
Hi, Claudia. I can hear you. If you want to just [crosstalk 00:16:21]-
Speaker 3: (16:21)
Kelly, can you unmute [crosstalk 00:16:26]?
Claudia Lauer: (16:25)
Sure, of course. I wanted to clarify from Dr. [Farley 00:16:28]. He had said [inaudible 00:16:29]. Is that one in each department or is that one [inaudible 00:16:39]?
Speaker 2: (16:39)
Dr. Farley, Claudia’s asking [inaudible 00:16:41]. Is that one in each department or is there more than one in each of those groups?
Speaker 3: (16:54)
Hey, Cody, can you come take a look? Thank you, Cody. Thank you.
So, they can’t hear this?
Speaker 2: (17:16)
Could you try speaking, please?
Sorry about… If you could just hold for a second, we’re just having some audio issues. We’re working on it right now.
Speaker 2: (17:39)
Kelly, we can hear you now.
Dr. Farley: (17:51)
We can hear you now.
Okay. Can you guys hear me at the podium?
Dr. Farley: (17:54)
Okay, great. Great, great. Sorry about that everyone. Let’s go back to Claudia. Claudia, could you ask your question again? Sorry about that.
Claudia Lauer: (18:15)
Sure. I mean, Sean was in front of me. Did you want to start with Sean? I don’t want to step on his toes.
Got you. I’ll go back to Sean. Sean, can you ask your question? Thank you.
Sean Walsh: (18:28)
Sure. You can hear me now?
Dr. Farley: (18:29)
Sean Walsh: (18:31)
All right. I got my nod from Dr. Farley, so okay. I don’t think I could hear him though, but okay. I wanted to ask for an update on the Hahnemann negotiations. How is that going? What’s the status of that? Councilwoman Gym has suggested using eminent domain to get the property. And then also, related to that, what would it cost to revamp the facility to be able to take patients?
There’s several things there.
Sean Walsh: (19:02)
I can’t hear Brian. I don’t know if anybody else can.
Can you hear?
Brian, can you hold on one second. We cannot hear you. Can you press unmute on your laptop there?
Sean, can you hear us now?
Sean Walsh: (19:14)
Now I can, yes.
Excellent. That question has several layers there. We have presented a counter offer to Hahnemann and to Mr. Freedman. Given the condition of the building and given the current needs, we’re certainly willing to cover the owner’s operating expenses, but don’t feel that we should be paying rent for what would otherwise be a vacant building, especially given the urgent and critical needs that the city is facing. We have not heard back from Mr. Freedman on his posture based on that negotiation, and again, we are certainly willing to negotiate.
On the question of eminent domain, we are certainly looking at all of our legal options at this point. Eminent domain specifically does require us to pay fair market value for the property, but we are working with the law department on multiple fronts to see if there are other options. And I also want to make it clear what Hahnemann could be used for. We don’t expect Hahnemann to be open as a medical facility. Again, it is a completely empty building. It does need significant repairs to several of its systems, like HVAC and elevators, to be certified and operating again. But we do think it could be useful for either isolation space or quarantine space or potentially a receiving area for hospitals as patients get well enough to leave hospitals. So there’s a few things on the table, but I don’t want to imply that this is going to be an open and operating hospital again because I don’t think that is likely. I think we have been fairly consistent about that, but I know there’s still a confusion.
Sean Walsh: (20:57)
Thanks. And for sanitation workers, how many of them are showing up to work? Is it affecting service? Do they have enough protective gear for them? Have there been complaints from the workers, concerns about their own health?
No, we haven’t seen the issues that Pittsburgh has seen. We have not seen a high absenteeism, and we’re in consistent communication with our union leadership and have provided additional protocols for our sanitation workers. So we haven’t seen any impact on service.
Sean Walsh: (21:34)
Lastly, have many of the cases been clustered in one area of the city? Is there a localized outbreak in one neighborhood that’s higher than other places?
Dr. Farley: (21:49)
At this point, I can only tell you we’ve had cases in every area of the city. In the future, I hope we can present a map to give you a sense for the different numbers of cases in different areas of the city. But certainly, the entire city has cases now.
Sean Walsh: (22:03)
Okay. Back to Claudia Lauer at the AP.
Claudia Lauer: (22:11)
Hey, thank you for taking my questions. I had a clarification for Dr. Farley. When you had said that at least one employee had tested positive in the city, you then listed a couple of different departments. You said civilian, police, and fire. Was that one employee in at least each department?
Dr. Farley: (22:29)
Yes, and that means at least one police officer, at least one firefighter, and at least one civilian employee.
Claudia Lauer: (22:37)
Okay, thank you for that clarification. And then secondarily, I was looking for some information about whether or not there have been any issues in the city’s prisons department, if anyone had tested positive, a jail guard or any of the prisoners.
Mayor Jim Kenney: (22:50)
At this point, we’ve had no positive tests from either inmates or from correctional officers.
Claudia Lauer: (22:56)
Okay. Next, we’re going to Jeff Cole with Fox 29.
Jeff Cole: (23:06)
Yeah, good afternoon. A question for the mayor. Mayor, it looks like under this two trillion dollar deal that there’s 150 billion in direct aid to state and local government. Do you have any idea at this point how that money will be cut up to a city the size of Philadelphia? And based on what you get, where do you initially direct it?
Mayor Jim Kenney: (23:26)
Well, we do not have a specific line-up as to where the money’s going. We have a team of people in finance and revenue and other departments that are working on making sure that the money winds down to us as quickly as possible. And then we’ll sit with all the departments and the Managing Director and Chief of Staff and figure out where we need to supplement, where we’ve spent the most money, what the money that we get is eligible for, and that’s all to be worked out. But we’re, again, pleased that the Congress has come to an agreement at least on getting aid directly to cities and counties, as opposed to it going through the states. But we will have more information as we see how much we get-
Mayor Jim Kenney: (24:03)
… going through the states, but we will have more information as we see how much we get and where we go with it.
One other question for Dr. Farley. Dr. Farley, the governor of New York has been very loud about the limited number of ventilators, what he needs as opposed to what he’s been able to get from the federal government. Do you, have you gotten any new PPE shipments or medical equipment including ventilators that you know of from the Federal government or any private entity that’s looking to help?
Dr. Farley: (24:31)
Well, first of all, New York state and New York City is the epicenter of this crisis across the country. They’re hit particularly hard. We’re doing everything we can to avoid having us be hit as hard as they are. We are tracking how many ventilators we have here, personal protective equipment we have here. I’m not aware of us getting federal shipments of either of those, but I know that we have requests for both of those and we’ll track that over time.
So Jeff, I do want to clarify. So some of our health systems did receive a shipment from FEMA through PEMA, but it was not a significantly large shipment of PPE. And frankly, I’m not even sure what was contained within the shipment. But I did just want to clarify and give FEMA a little bit of credit.
Speaker 4: (25:22)
Next we have Jack Thompson with Metro.
Jack Thompson: (25:28)
This question is for the mayor. Do you think it’s likely schools will close for the rest of the year and what are your thoughts on the district’s plan to distribute laptops or other electronic resources to students?
Mayor Jim Kenney: (25:40)
Again, we don’t know. We don’t know whether or not the school will resume this year. We take it day by day, hour by hour. I think the school district has done a good job in helping to, or distributing food and they’ll do an equally good job in the distribution of the Chromebooks that they already have and the ones that they will acquire. I don’t know whether or not we’re going to open again, but we don’t want to close off the possibility that we can. And again, it’s hard. A lot of these questions that we’ve been getting since the beginning of this is projecting forward. Projecting forward each couple of hours is difficult, let alone projecting forward over months. But we’re going to do, the one thing I can assure you, we will follow the medical advice as to when we can and cannot do certain things. Open schools, open government, get back to normal, it’ll be a medical decision solely.
Jack Thompson: (26:35)
And this question’s for Dr. Farley, we’ve had some readers call in and ask if it’s safe to pick up our newspapers. So I was wondering if you could speak to the safety of that and maybe other commercial products, boxes, things in stores, whether the virus can be on those things and whether people should pick them up.
Dr. Farley: (26:51)
Yeah. I’m aware of a study where they were able to find DNA from the virus on surfaces after some period of time, but that doesn’t mean that that virus is actually alive enough to infect a person. The best judgment we have on this from the Centers for Disease Control is that this virus degrades pretty quickly over time while on surfaces and that the vast majority infection occurs through contact between two people. And so I would not, with that in mind, I would not think that there’ll be any risk to picking up newspapers or picking up boxes that are being passed around.
Jack Thompson: (27:25)
Right. Thank you.
Speaker 4: (27:29)
Next up is Nigel Thompson with AL DIA.
Nigel Thompson: (27:34)
Hi. I think this question is for Dr. Farley. Yeah. My question is regarding the MRC. In terms of things that people can sign up for, obviously you ran through yesterday, some of the things people are going or doing in those positions. Is one of them potentially translation, on the ground translation services? I know the city is doing its work with translating stuff, but can you just talk to that if possible?
Dr. Farley: (28:06)
There are all sorts of roles that the Medical Reserve Corps could be involved in. Right now they’re working at Citizens Bank Park, both in the collection of samples and also recording information. And so we haven’t had a request for translators, but if there were translators, was there a need for translators, we would be happy to receive that request and see if there are people who have registered for the MRC that could do it.
Nigel Thompson: (28:29)
Cool. Thank you.
Speaker 4: (28:36)
Next we have Lauren [inaudible 00:28:37] with Philadelphia Neighborhoods.
Thank you. How long do you intend to use the Center City Holiday Inn as a core acute facility? And you have a similar plan for the homeless population in Kensington?
So the quarantine facility in the Holiday Inn is not just for homeless individuals. It’s for anyone who can’t quarantine at home. So I just want to make that clear. And as I said yesterday, we are pursuing multiple options regarding additional properties for quarantine and isolation space, which Hahnemann may be one of those spaces as well. As far as length of time, I think it will all depend upon what is the need and how long this crisis lasts. So I don’t have a time period today.
Speaker 4: (29:26)
Next we have Charlene Santiago with Univision.
Charlene Santiago: (29:31)
Hi, can you hear me? Yes. So are we able to make questions in Spanish now then I’m guessing?
Speaker 5: (29:55)
[foreign language 00:05:40] Charlene.
Charlene Santiago: (30:02)
[foreign language 00:29:44].
Speaker 5: (30:04)
Gracias. This is questions for Dr. Farley. Question specifically around what is the protocol for emergency rooms, health physicians and nurses and technicians that are there and what kind of security measures are we taking both for them and the public that may come in still to emergency rooms?
Dr. Farley: (30:19)
Okay. Currently emergency rooms have a relatively low volume.
Speaker 5: (30:27)
[foreign language 00: 06:29].
Dr. Farley: (30:34)
And the workers there are practicing using personal protective equipment to avoid them getting infected or passing infection onto patients.
Speaker 5: (30:43)
[foreign language 00:06:42].
Dr. Farley: (30:52)
And in the future, if we get many more patients coming to emergency departments, they’re working on protocols for how to process them quickly and deal with that increased volume.
Speaker 5: (31:03)
[foreign language 00:07:03].
Charlene Santiago: (31:08)
[foreign language 00:07:16].
Speaker 5: (31:35)
Her question is also for you again. What is, currently right now, the status of the protective gear for the health physicians and emergency rooms and medical personnel? Because right now our webpage is asking for donations.
Dr. Farley: (31:49)
We know overall in the city of Philadelphia that we have a shortage of personal protective equipment. So we have instituted recommendations for steps that hospitals can take to conserve the ones that they have.
Speaker 5: (32:02)
[foreign language 00:08:03].
Dr. Farley: (32:29)
And we are continuing to obtain, try to obtain more personal protective equipment for the future so that we don’t have more severe shortages. And that’s what the website request is about.
Speaker 5: (32:44)
[foreign language 00: 08:45].
Charlene Santiago: (33:02)
[foreign language 00:09:06].
Speaker 4: (33:10)
Okay. Next up is Pat Lowe with KYW.
Pat Lowe: (33:14)
I was looking for more specific numbers about the police and firefighters who have tested positive.
Thanks Pat. We’re not going to provide specific numbers.
Pat Lowe: (33:27)
Just at least wanted… Okay. And understanding privacy concerns, can you give us a little more information about when this first victim died, how long he’d been hospitalized, where he was hospitalized.
Dr. Farley: (33:42)
I can just tell you that the patient became sick a few days ago, was hospitalized briefly and died in the last couple of days.
Pat Lowe: (33:52)
Speaker 4: (33:56)
Next we have Wendy Saltzman with NBC10.
Wendy Saltzman: (34:01)
So you just made mention that the person was hospitalized briefly. So when people have the COVID virus, should they be hospitalized immediately or what is the process people should be going through?
Dr. Farley: (34:14)
Most people with this infection have mild or moderate infection and can get over it on their own and they don’t necessarily need medical care at all. But some people are at higher risk, so the elderly or people with underlying medical conditions. This person who died did have underlying medical conditions. We have recommended testing for people over the age of 50 with the idea that the older people are the greater risk they are. So, and we’ve instructed anybody at any age, if they have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, then they need to seek medical attention.
Wendy Saltzman: (34:44)
And what kind of therapies are being used in these hospitals? We’ve seen that there are medications for lupus or other things that are being tried out. But is that even happening in Philadelphia as of yet?
Dr. Farley: (34:56)
Yeah, we don’t have detailed information on the different therapies that they’re trying. Most of the care and what’s most important is supportive. That is to say if the people’s lungs aren’t working very well, they give them oxygen. If they need fluids, they give them fluids, but there’s no specific drug to kill the virus that they can use right now.
Wendy Saltzman: (35:14)
With the individual who died then, did they leave the hospital and died when they were outside of the hospital atmosphere?
Dr. Farley: (35:20)
No. No. This individual went to the hospital and died in the hospital.
Wendy Saltzman: (35:25)
And then in terms of the number of hospital beds, how are we doing? You said we have 342 cases, I assume not all of those are in the hospital. So how are we doing in terms of hospital beds?
Dr. Farley: (35:35)
Right now we have have more empty hospital beds in the area than we do under ordinary circumstances by quite a bit because the hospitals have canceled elective surgeries and other patients that don’t need to be in the hospital. They’ve cleared out so that they can prepare for the surge. So right now there are plenty of hospital beds.
Wendy Saltzman: (35:51)
Dr. Farley: (35:51)
Of course, just to be clear, that could change and we are trying very hard to make it so that we always do have hospital beds and we’re taking every step possible for that surge that we expect to happen in the future.
Wendy Saltzman: (36:02)
Dr. Farley: (36:03)
We expect to happen in the future.
Speaker 7: (36:03)
Thank you. Okay. Next we have the WPBI desk. Six ABC. You’re now unmuted. Okay, we will come back to you. Next, we’re going to go to Denise Clay.
Denise Clay: (36:31)
Hello. I’m sorry. No, I do not have the Coronavirus. I wanted to ask the mayor since you will… Did Dwight Evans, our representative, the city’s representative in Philadelphia in Congress, talk to you about the negotiations as they were going on and what specific things, I guess were you able to get from him as to what the city could expect from this bill?
Mayor Jim Kenney: (37:02)
Congressman Evans has always been available to us. I haven’t had recent conversations with him. I know they’re quite busy in the negotiations. He has always been there to support the city’s needs and I’m sure had a great hand in what the ultimate result was or is going to be and I have an open door to Dwight Evans. He has an open door to me. We just haven’t had any conversation recently but we’ve talked in the past, recent past, about other issues outside the coronavirus. So he’s a great representative and a great Congressman. We’re happy he’s there.
Speaker 6: (37:34)
I think you can. Actually, [crosstalk 00:37:41].
Denise Clay: (37:37)
What do you think, if anything, this might have terms of impact on the city budget now that you have to make some appropriations for the virus and we still don’t know what the virus is actually going to do in the city because it hasn’t peaked yet.
Mayor Jim Kenney: (37:52)
Correct. So that’s why it’s impossible for me to give you the impact on our budget because we don’t know how many cases we’re going to have. We don’t know how much we’re going to have to expend from the city treasury to supplement hospital beds, other issues that need to be addressed. So as we get closer to the bending of the curve and closer to decreasing cases, things will become more apparent as to how much we’ve totally spent and where we have to adjust our budget and that’ll be through the budget process when this is over.
Denise Clay: (38:24)
Okay. Also the bill has a certain amount of money that it’s giving to individual people who I guess are employed by someone but you have a lot of freelancers in Philadelphia. Has the city thought about what it’s going to do for those people because for a lot of us, not being able to utilize the gig economy the way we have been, it’s been kind of hard.
Denise Clay: (38:52)
So as the city thought about what is going to do for its freelance population?
Mayor Jim Kenney: (38:57)
I don’t understand what freelance is. Are you employed?
Speaker 6: (39:01)
[ inaudible 00:39:02].
Denise Clay: (39:01)
We’re self employed for the most part.
Mayor Jim Kenney: (39:04)
Well if there’s issues relative to the lack of pay, I assume that you’re covered under unemployment compensation and you should research with the state site what you’re eligible for because that’s… And I don’t know what the process is with the checks coming from Washington.
Speaker 6: (39:20)
Mayor Jim Kenney: (39:21)
We’ll see as they as they roll out but if you’re experiencing unemployment or reduction in income, check out the state website on unemployment and file for what you’re eligible for. But there’s no specific city funded plan for freelancers.
Denise Clay: (39:38)
Okay and for Commissioner Farley. Around the country, you have people who are quilters and other textile artisans that have been volunteering to make masks for healthcare workers that are working to fight this virus. Have you heard of any those kinds of efforts in the city?
Dr. Farley: (40:03)
I understand on social media there are people talking about making masks and so we have posted guidance on our website about if you’re going to do this-
Speaker 6: (40:09)
Dr. Farley: (40:09)
How to do it in ways that might be protective and so people with an interest in that should just go to that guidance.
Speaker 6: (40:18)
Rough draft [inaudible 00:04:24].
Speaker 7: (40:21)
Thank you, Denise. Next, we’re going to Jake Bloomguard.
Jake Bloomguard: (40:27)
Hi there. So a couple of quick questions. One, did you, you know, there’s somebody who tested positive in a nursing home a couple of days ago, have any of the staff or the other residents in that facility tested positive since then?
Dr. Farley: (40:47)
I’m sorry, what was the question exactly again? Have others tested positive. We have had additional positive tests from that nursing home. Correct.
Jake Bloomguard: (40:57)
Among residents or staff or both?
Dr. Farley: (40:59)
Among residents. I can’t give you exact numbers and we are working with that nursing home and monitoring those residents closely.
Jake Bloomguard: (41:10)
Okay. I’ve been talking with some union leaders who have said that they are kind of working on getting various types of construction projects kind of exempted from the overall ban moving forward. In particular, things that they think could help with this virus in terms of medical facilities, things like that. I was wondering if there are any particular kinds of projects the city could comment on that might be exempted moving forward.
I think the order that we issued earlier this week was clear. The essential infrastructure, which would certainly include hospitals and medical facilities, pharmaceutical distribution, things like that were considered essential. For things outside of that, I think the waiver process is fairly clear with the governor’s office and we’ll certainly follow the state’s lead on those issues.
Jake Bloomguard: (42:12)
And are there any partnerships underway in terms of local manufacturing for mass production or anything like that?
We are about to begin a partnership for a mass production. I can certainly get back to you with details. I’m not sure if we launch today or a launch tomorrow, but the local manufacturing community has been great to work with.
Jake Bloomguard: (42:42)
Okay, great. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (42:48)
Okay, next is Brian Mendoza with NBC 10 Telemundo.
Speaker 5: (43:14)
Brian Mendoza: (43:14)
Speaker 5: (43:15)
This is a question for Brian, regarding Hahnemann, the total costs and specific, what are the essential services they’re going to be provided at Hahnemann? If we’re able to execute.
We are still in negotiations with the landlord on costs.
Speaker 5: (43:41)
To fit out the space will be several hundred thousand dollars.
Speaker 5: (43:49)
And services could include quarantine space, isolation space more a minimal medical space.
Speaker 5: (44:12)
Brian Mendoza: (44:12)
Speaker 5: (44:47)
This is a question for the mayor. Many nonprofit organizations that work with immigrant communities have major concerns, individuals who are being detained in certain detention centers. Will Philadelphia be welcoming or able to receive individuals be relocated to Philadelphia?
Mayor Jim Kenney: (45:08)
Philadelphia was and is a welcoming city and if people are released and come into our community, we’ll welcome them with open arms.
Speaker 5: (45:16)
Brian Mendoza: (45:17)
Speaker 5: (46:01)
So again, mayor, this is your question regarding many individuals who aren’t immigrants and undocumented and don’t qualify necessarily for unemployment. Do you see these additional benefits coming in or being provided from the federal government or locally accessible to the immigrant community?
Mayor Jim Kenney: (46:22)
Considering this administration in Washington and rules on unemployment, I doubt that undocumented folks will be eligible to file for unemployment, but I do know that through some of the philanthropic funds we’ve been trying to accumulate, we will be funding organizations that to help take care of various sectors of our communities. And I believe that immigrants are also part of that.