Overdose Hospitalization Report

“As the number of overdose deaths in Philadelphia dropped in 2018 from the 2017 watermark and naloxone became more prevalent in the community, we expect that the number of hospital admissions would go down; more people are surviving overdoses,” James Garrow, a spokesperson for Philadelphia’s health department, wrote in an email. “This is great news because it means that these folks have another chance to get into treatment.”

Still, he added, Philadelphia’s historically high overdose fatalities — 1,116 people died here in 2018, a rate higher than anywhere else in Pennsylvania — mean that it’s not surprising the city leads the state in hospitalizations.


By Aubrey Whelan

First Human West Nile Virus Case of 2019




According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the city has had its first case of a person being diagnosed with the neurologic infection.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced that they have found West Nile virus activity in the mosquito population in at least 57 of the 67 counties in the state, including all counties in southeastern Pennsylvania.


By Max Bennett


Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley urged residents to take necessary precautions against the virus, a neurologic infection spread by infected mosquitoes.

“We all have a role in preventing the spread of West Nile virus,” Farley said in a statement. “And it’s easy to do: Wear mosquito repellent and dump out standing water.”


By John Kopp


There were 17 West Nile virus cases in the city last year.

To report mosquito problems, contact the health department at 215-685-9000.


By Staff


The first human case of West Nile virus in 2019 has been reported in Philadelphia, health officials announced Tuesday.

West Nile activity in mosquitoes has also been reported in 57 of 67 Pennsylvania counties to date including all counties in the southeastern part of the state, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health stated.


By Mari Schaefer


Health officials are working to control the mosquitos throughout the city and advise residents to take precautions to combat the virus.

“We all have a role in preventing the spread of West Nile virus,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “It’s easy to do: wear mosquito repellent and dump out standing water.”


By Staff

Maternal Motherhood Grant Award




“The highest cause of maternal mortality in Philadelphia is related to cardiovascular conditions,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Aasta Mehta, an adviser to the city Department of Health and a leader of its committee that reviews all pregnancy-related maternal deaths. “With Heart Safe Motherhood, we can monitor them much more rigorously and avoid hospital readmissions.”


By Marie McCullough

Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee

“I am thinking [the state’s count] has been wildly underreported for years,” said Dr. Aasta Mehta, the women’s health policy adviser to the Philadelphia Department of Health and a member of both that city’s review committee and now the statewide committee.


By Sean Hamill

Gosnell 2019 Anniversary

A spokesperson for the city’s medical examiner said the graves will remain unmarked.

“The request was denied because this is a City plot and is treated the same as every other plot that the City owns, which are similarly unmarked by the City,” the Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement this week.


By Jan Kinney

Sodium Warning Labels




Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the labels can help customers make healthier food choices.

“For years, healthcare providers have told patients suffering from hypertension and heart disease to cut back on sodium in their diet, and they have listened and put the salt shakers away,” said Farley. “We now know, however, that the largest source of sodium in American’s diets are in packaged and restaurant foods. These warning labels will help Philadelphians take charge of their diet and make the right choices for their health.”




“Eating one of these items alone puts the consumer over the maximum daily sodium intake recommended by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association,” according to Fit Food Philly, a city website with healthy food-related information.


By Staff


City officials hope the additional information will help people make better choices.

“One chain has a burger, with all the toppings, has 4,100 milligrams. So with this label, for the first time, customers can easily see which items are extremely high in sodium and if they choose to, they can avoid them,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.


By Staff


The new law, which goes into effect Saturday, requires restaurants to place a red or black “Sodium Warning” label alongside any menu items that exceed 2,300 mg of sodium – including combo meals. The law affects any chain restaurant with more than 15 locations nationwide.


By John Kopp


Health Commissioner Tom Farley says the city’s launching a $50,000 awareness campaign about the warning labels.

“We have tested these ads so that people are aware this is something they should look for when they go to a restaurant,” he said.


By Pat Loeb


According to foodfitphilly.com, 71 percent of people’s daily sodium comes from restaurants or processed food.  Experts say high-sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and risk of stroke.


By Becca Glasser-Baker

Philly Food Retail Report




The Neighborhood Food Report shines a light on the city’s skewed food environment, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

“Children grow up seeing chips and candy as normal snacks rather than occasional treats,” Farley said in a statement. “And adults who may be trying to eat a healthy diet are constantly seeing the unhealthy snacks they may be trying to avoid.”


By Jon Kopp