PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia health officials on Wednesday announced new COVID-19 response levels that will now bind the city’s mask and vaccine mandates to specific measurements.
Under the new multi-tier systems, city and health officials say they will stop enforcing certain mandates as COVID-19 measurements improve.
If the numbers get worse, officials say they will use the same system to determine when those mandates will be enforced again.
Based on current metrics, officials announced Wednesday that Philadelphia had reached a level that should only be reserved for the mask – meaning that requirement to present proof of vaccination at indoor eateries serving food for consumption on the spot was dropped with immediate effect.
What COVID-19 measurements are Philadelphia officials focusing on?
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health will focus on four key metrics to guide mandate decisions and restrictions.
The measurements include average new cases per day, number of admissions, percentage of tests reported as positive and rate of change for new cases.
City officials say tying their responses to these polls will help the public understand why the city enforces specific mandates, as well as what needs to happen for enforcement to stop.
The Philadelphia COVID-19 website will be updated to include detailed breakdowns of the four key metrics.
On Wednesday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole that the average cases per day has fallen below 200 and positivity rates have fallen below 3%
What are Philadelphia’s COVID-19 response levels?
The city says response levels have been labeled Extreme Caution, Caution, Only Mask Precautions and All Clear.
Each level is defined by the city as follows:
- Extreme caution: Proof of vaccination required for places serving food or drink; masks required in indoor public places
- Caution: Evidence of vaccination or negative test within 24 hours for places serving food or drink; masks required in indoor public places
- Mask Precautions: No vaccine requirements for places serving food or drink; masks required in indoor public places
- All clear: No vaccine requirements for places serving food or drink; No mask required (except in schools, healthcare facilities, community settings and public transportation)
Each response level will be triggered by meeting certain thresholds in multiple key metrics.
An extremely cautious response will be in effect when the city has done two or more of the following: On average 500 new cases a day or more, hospitalizations reach or exceed 500, percent positivity reaches or exceeds 10%, or cases have increased by more than 50% in the previous 10 days.
The precautionary response level will be used when three or more of the following occur: Average number of new cases per day is less than 500, admissions are below 500, positivity rates are below 10%, and cases have not increased by more than 50% in previous 10 days.
The mesh precautionary response level will also require three or more benchmarks to reach in terms of key metrics. These include average new cases falling below an average of 225 new cases per day, admissions falling below 100, percentage positive falling below 5%, and / or cases not increasing by more than 50% in the previous 10 days.
To achieve an All Clear, city officials say the average number of new cases per year. day must fall to below 100, admissions must be below 50, percent positivity falls to below 2%, and or that cases have not increased by more than 50% in the previous 10 days.
Response levels will be announced by the city on their COVID-19 website every Monday.
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