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Pa. nursing home data minimizes the coronavirus devastation in Philly senior centers; some area Dems are losing patience with Gov. Wolf on restrictions

Philadelphia Inquirer logo Philadelphia Inquirer 5/21/2020 By Joseph A. Gambardello, Oona Goodin-Smith, Erin McCarthy, Rob Tornoe, Ellie Rushing, The Philadelphia Inquirer
a tall building in a city: The Philadelphia Nursing Home at 2100 W. Girard Ave. in the Fairmount section on May 20, 2020. Nursing home COVID-19 data released by the state contains numerous discrepancies from City of Philadelphia data on case numbers, raising questions about whether the state is seriously undercounting cases of coronavirus in both residents and staff. © CHARLES FOX/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS The Philadelphia Nursing Home at 2100 W. Girard Ave. in the Fairmount section on May 20, 2020. Nursing home COVID-19 data released by the state contains numerous discrepancies from City of Philadelphia data on case numbers, raising questions about whether the state is seriously undercounting cases of coronavirus in both residents and staff.

Significant DevelopmentsPennsylvania is expected to release guidance soon on whether or how professional sports can operate in the commonwealth.A Delaware County barber shop and a Camden County church are among the latest to defy government shutdown orders.Mayor Jim Kenney is urging Philadelphians to not hold gatherings over the Memorial Day weekend.A church in Clementon, Camden County, reopened for services Wednesday night in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus shutdown orders, drawing a small group of supporters and little police actionPhiladelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley says residents should get used to wearing a face masks for some time to come.Track the latest data on the spread of the coronavirus in the Philadelphia region here.Some Philly-area Democrats are starting to lose patience with Gov. Tom Wolf on restrictions

a person standing in front of a store: COCKTAIL KITS AVAILABLE is the message in the window at Braca Cafe in Sea Isle City on Wednesday. © ELIZABETH ROBERTSON/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS COCKTAIL KITS AVAILABLE is the message in the window at Braca Cafe in Sea Isle City on Wednesday.

// Timestamp 05/21 06:00am

Pennsylvania Democrats have mostly supported Gov. Tom Wolf as Republicans in the state legislature push him to reopen parts of the economy more quickly, and even contemplated revoking his emergency powers.

But two months after Wolf ordered most of the state’s 12.8 million residents to stay at home and closed all businesses not deemed “life-sustaining,” some in his party are starting to show frustration with the coronavirus lockdowns — and with the governor.

The two top Democrats in the legislature wrote a letter to Wolf on Sunday praising his efforts to protect public health — but also encouraging him to consider permitting real estate activity to resume in a limited capacity. He did so this week.

Some Philly-area Democrats are starting to lose patience with Gov. Tom Wolf on restrictions— Andrew Seidman and Chris Brennan

State nursing home data minimizes the COVID-19 devastation in Philadelphia senior centers

// Timestamp 05/21 05:30am

If you accept the state data released this week about the coronavirus’ scourge of long-term-care facilities, no staff members at the Philadelphia Nursing Home in Fairmount have gotten the disease — and across the city’s 47 nursing homes, fewer than 20 staffers have tested positive.

That would be wonderful news for seniors in those facilities and their loved ones. Staff members who carry the virus without showing symptoms all too often bring the disease into the homes, with deadly results.

But neither of those statements is accurate. In fact, 30 staff members at the Philadelphia Nursing Home alone have tested positive for the virus, according to the city, which owns the 402-bed facility.

State nursing home data minimizes the COVID-19 devastation in Philadelphia senior centers — Sean Collins Walsh and Dylan Purcell

Morning Roundup: Amid coronavirus progress, ‘still very real risk'; get used to wearing a mask, Philly health leader says

// Timestamp 05/21 05:00am

Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday that officials are working to get as many Pennsylvanians as possible back to work as the coronavirus pandemic continues, including by increasing diagnostic testing capacity across the commonwealth and putting into place a contact tracing program — but said he was not sure the economy can fully return to normal until there is a “foolproof” vaccine for the deadly virus.

Ultimately, he said on a call with reporters, “what it’s going to take for everybody to feel safe going to a Penn State game or a basketball game is that they have some confidence that they’re not going to get sick by being in close contact with somebody else.”

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the city should “focus less on when we reopen and really start thinking about how we reopen" and said every resident should prepare by getting a face mask.

“Wearing a mask is going to have to become normal, expected behavior,” he said Wednesday. "Going into a store without wearing a mask is like it is now going into a store without wearing a shirt — it’s just something that people don’t do.”

— Justine McDaniel, Pranshu Verma and Laura McCrystal

Today’s Inquirer Front Page

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