PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As we look toward the end of the week, will southeastern Pennsylvania be able to move into the next phase of reopening during the pandemic? Health officials say coronavirus numbers continue to improve and the scheduled lifting of restrictions has not been impacted by the protests.
Cases are going down but the coronavirus is still a threat. That’s why there is caution and concern about the gradual reopening that is planned in New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.
“The numbers are looking better and better each day,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Kenney says Philadelphia should be able to move into the yellow phase of lifting restrictions as scheduled on Friday, but there are concerns protesters may have unknowingly been exposed to the coronavirus but that won’t be known for at least 10 days.
“I’m a little concerned what may happen relative to 3- 4- 5,000 people close together without a mask for days on end, so hopefully we won’t see a spike,” Kenney said.
In the yellow phase, businesses, child care centers and walk-up restaurant service will be allowed to resume operations, but salons and gyms may not.
“The numbers are right now looking good, we’re down to 125 cases we reported today. That’s down from the between 500 to 600 a day we were reporting not long ago,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
All of southeastern Pennsylvania is scheduled to move into the yellow phase on Friday, with the state announcing expanding contact tracing and testing.
“Anyone who needs a test can get a test, anyone,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy says they’re on track to begin stage two of gradual reopening on June 15.
“We have significantly slowed the rate of spread of the virus,” Murphy said.
But health officials say the virus is still spreading, which is why masks and social distancing remain important, even when restrictions are lifted.
“We have made and we continue to make tremendous progress but we cannot let our guard down,” Murphy said.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced the stay-at-home order in Pennsylvania will be allowed to expired at midnight Thursday.
But doctors caution, without a treatment or vaccine, there could be a resurgence of the virus after the restrictions are lifted if people aren’t careful.
This content was originally published here.