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Coronavirus Latest: Mayor Kenney Says Social Distancing Will Probably Have To Go Through Summer, Philly Reports Highest Single-Day Death Count

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says social distancing will probably have to go through the summer as the city saw its highest single-day death count on Friday. Health officials say 33 more residents died from COVID-19, bringing the city's death toll to 137.

The number of coronavirus cases in Philadelphia is now approaching 5,800 after 522 new cases were reported.

During Friday's briefing, Kenney says social distancing will need to continue for the foreseeable future, probably through the summer.

"I don't see that changing. We need to continue to modify our behavior in what we're used to doing in order for this not to come back," Kenney said. "I don't think whether it stabilizes or whether it goes down, there's still going to be a period of time where a new normal will have to persist."

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says he believes the number of deaths will continue to increase, but they are still seeing slowing in the growth of cases.

"Let's be clear, the virus could pick up speed again," Farley said.

The Citizens Bank Park testing site is closed Friday due to high winds and will not reopen.

Meanwhile, there are now nearly 20,000 coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania. The death toll has exceeded 400.

Seventy-eight more people died from the virus, raising the death toll to 416. Health officials reported 1,751 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 19,979.

"Now more than ever, as we continue to see COVID-19 cases and deaths rise in Pennsylvania, we need Pennsylvanians to take action," Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. "Those actions should be to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. If you must go out, please limit it to as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and our health care workers and frontline responders."


Over 93,000 patients have tested negative.

Gov. Tom Wolf is issuing an executive order to authorize the early release of up to 1,800 inmates from Pennsylvania state prisons in an effort to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus.

The plan is similar to what other states and some Pennsylvania counties have undertaken, and it comes after talks broke down with Republicans who hold a majority in the state Legislature.

Wolf's office said releasing inmates will save lives, help stop the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming Pennsylvania's already-burdened health care system.

"We can reduce our non-violent prison population and leave fewer inmates at risk for contracting COVID-19 while maintaining public safety with this program," Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The releases, to halfway houses or home confinement, could start as early as Tuesday, according to the governor's office.


The plan allows the release of inmates serving time for nonviolent offenses who are within nine months of scheduled release, or within 12 months for those considered at heightened risk from the coronavirus.

The temporary reprieve program does not apply to inmates incarcerated for certain crimes, including violent crimes, crimes committed with a firearm, drug trafficking and sexual offenses. And it does not apply to inmates who have been denied parole or convicted of any offense while incarcerated.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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