There were some bright spots in Philadelphia's latest update about the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, but the main message stayed the same: pleading with residents to stay home as much as possible to help prevent spreading the virus.
Leaders urged caution heading into the Thanksgiving holiday and told residents to hold out for a brighter 2021, with vaccines for the virus on the way.
"Please, please celebrate Thanksgiving only with members of your immediate household. You don’t want to spread COVID to your elderly grandmother or to that cousin of yours that may have a chronic medical condition, might make him severely ill if he got the infection," City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
Earlier in the day, a group of gym owners and employees outside the Municipal Services Building protested city restrictions on indoor dining, gyms and other indoor activities. The restrictions went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday to help prevent the spread of the virus. The full scope of the restrictions is spelled out here.
Superintendent Dr. William Hite also urged parents to limit their Thanksgiving celebrations this week.
Most data shared Tuesday showed continued increases from previous weeks. Hospitalizations are up citywide and statewide and reached new highs. 42 nursing home residents have been transferred into the city COVID relief unit, which cares for COVID-positive nursing home residents away from other nursing home residents who haven't contracted the virus.
One possible bright spot was the positivity rate. For the week ending Nov. 21, it was 11.8%, same as the week before, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told reporters.
"So there is some leveling trend here, a leveling trend could just be a pause before we see another increase. It could be the beginning of a reversal. No way of telling right now," he said.
Despite that, it wasn't cause for celebration: "The number of daily cases we’re seeing is still extremely high and there’s going to be consequences of that," Farley said.
Later Tuesday, look for our report on business and gym owners reacting to the city restrictions put in place Friday.