Philadelphia is taking familiar precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to a news release from the Philadelphia Health Department, the city is restoring its indoor mask mandate after experiencing an increase in virus cases.
Th mandate is being reinstated after coronavirus cases in Philadelphia surged more than 50 percent in the span of 10 days as of Monday.
“As of today, April 11, Philadelphia is averaging 142 new cases of COVID-19 each day. This number is more than 50% higher than the 84 average new cases that was reported ten days ago, on April 1,” said the health department per the news release.
“This means that not only are cases getting higher, they’re going up more quickly than the Health Department feels is safe. Hospitalizations have stayed steady around 50 for the last two weeks. Today, there are 46 people hospitalized in Philadelphia who have COVID-19.”
Health officials attribute the recent rise in COVID-19 cases to the BA.2 sub-variant of omicron that is known to be very transmissible, the Associated Press reported.
Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, said 750 city residents died of COVID-19 in the winter when Omicron cases surged nationwide.
“If we fail to act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for many of our residents,” said Bettigole per the AP.
“This is our chance to get ahead of the pandemic, to put our masks on until we have more information about the severity of this new variant.”
The mandate officially goes into effect on Monday, April 18.
The city is stepping up efforts to fight the virus, while Washington, D.C., and New York City experienced increased COVID-19 cases in April.