Ruth Abaya ICYMI

In case you missed it, Dr. Ruth Abaya has joined the City of Philadelphia as Injury Prevention Program Manager in order to build injury prevention program focused on the prevention of injuries and deaths due to gun violence, alcohol, and crashes. Her work will initially focus on the prevention of shootings and firearm homicides by using a public health approach to gun violence prevention. Gun violence today causes nearly 60% of the deaths among young Black men in the city. The full text of her recent OpEd in the Inquirer about the complexities of violence in Philadelphia is below.

Howland St Rats Follow-up

CBS3 1

The Philadelphia Health Department is planning another inspection of the city’s Lawncrest neighborhood on Wednesday after reports of rats running rampant. The health department told Eyewitness News the city rebaited the neighborhood on Tuesday.

By Staff

CBS3 2

 The Philadelphia Health Department tells Eyewitness News the city set out more bait boxes in a Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood again on Tuesday. It’s an attempt to put an end to the rats running rampant in the city’s Lawncrest section.

By Staff

Hepatitis A Van Clinic


The spike in Hepatitis A cases has been seen mainly among the homeless and people who use drugs. The liver infection is caused by fecal contamination.

“It’s from not washing your hands properly after you’ve used the bathroom or gone to the bathroom, not washing your hands properly and touching food items,” Dr. Steven Alles of Philadelphia’s Department of Health said.

By Stephanie Stahl


In an effort to combat the spread of Hepatitis A in Kensington, the Philadelphia Health Department will offer free mobile vaccination clinics on Tuesday. Residents and community activists point to the opioid epidemic as a contributing factor to the spread of the virus.

by Cydney Long


While some cities with similar HAV concerns have taken on more serious sanitation efforts, an emphasis on vaccines is the route Philadelphia is currently taking. Those with health insurance can obtain the disease-preventing vaccine from their doctor, or the health department is holding a free vaccine pop-up at McPherson Square in Kensington on Tuesdays and Thursdays between July 30 and August 8 as an effort the combat the illness locally, per Billy Penn.

By Bailey King

Hepatitis A in Kensington Residents


The Philadelphia Health Department says they’re seeing an increase of Hepatitis A cases in the Philly area. NBC10’s Steven Fisher speaks to a community leader who believes she got the virus while simply cleaning up her neighborhood.

By Steven Fisher

Howland Street Rats

NBC10 1

Philadelphia is currently at the height of rat season, which runs roughly from April to October, according to Philadelphia environmental health program administrator Raymond Delaney.

He became aware of the “rat issue” on Howland Street earlier this week and deployed staffers to the neighborhood immediately, he said.

By Alicia Victoria Lozano

NBC10 2

The Philadelphia Health Department is trying to stop a rat infestation plaguing a block in Northeast Philadelphia.

By Miguel Martinez-Valle


The bait boxes could take several days to be effective according to the health department, if you spot any rats, you are asked to contact the city health department.

By Staff


The Health Department says there is no immediate fix.

They released a statement Friday, saying in part, “Inspectors were scheduled to revisit the baited burrows today, due to the 3-5 day lag time before they start to see results from the baiting. Inspectors were out there this morning checking the baited burrows, and investigating more. They found burrows on two additional properties and baited them and put down bait boxes. Inspectors will be out there tomorrow to check the bait boxes, as is protocol, as well as following up early next week on the burrows, as is protocol.”

By Maggie Kent

Lower Sodium Hoagie Rolls


“Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most dangerous threats Philadelphians face. Most people don’t know that breads, like hoagie rolls, are major contributors to the amount of salt that we eat,” said Thomas Farley, MD, commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “I applaud this effort to develop new, tasty, lower-sodium choices that will make eating a healthy diet easier.”

By Annie Korp


Three years ago, the health department received a five-year, nearly $2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to partake in the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program. One project was to work with Asian buffet restaurants that served lower-income youths, seniors, and adults to serve healthier meals.

The department also looked to purchase foods for city agencies that were lower in sodium, but had trouble finding certain items in the marketplace, said Catherine Bartoli, a nutrition and food service coordinator with the department.

By Mari Schaefer

Change in Overdose Deaths from 2017 to 2018

“What I was really struck by was how big the drop was in Kensington — that’s the site of the Resilience Project, the site of the most drug activity. It’s the hot spot in the city,” said Tom Farley, the city’s health commissioner. “It’s an encouraging sign that we are really making progress in the area. But the rest of the city is following different trajectories.”

By Aubrey Whelan

HF Monitor at PES Refinery


The city’s health department downplayed the incident Wednesday, saying its Air Management Services (AMS) inspectors suspected the gas meter was not properly calibrated, and requested that the refinery and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency double-check the tests.

“Both confirmed that there was no HF present in the air,” James Garrow, the health department spokesperson, said in an email. “The AMS inspectors took the improperly calibrated meter out of service.”

By Andrew Maykuth


Garrow conceded, however, that one of the city’s meters, which was being used to confirm PES’s own zero readings, had not been functioning properly.

“[Air Monitoring Service] inspectors tested for the presence of HF to confirm the zero readings reported by PES,” Garrow said. “Due to the meter not being properly calibrated, the inspectors requested that the EPA and PES confirm the zero readings. Both confirmed that there was no HF present in the air. The AMS inspectors took the improperly calibrated meter out of service.”

By Dana Bate

Hahnemann Closure Effect on Other Hospitals

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and city leaders are meeting regularly with the hospitals affected by Hahnemann’s closure, said James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city Health Department.

“While the city doesn’t have regulatory oversight of any hospital, nor can we compel any hospital to change their practices, we are working with each of the other hospitals together to make sure that every patient who is affected by the Hahnemann closure has a place to get care in the most frictionless way. As in everything, the devil is in the details, but we’re happy that the hospital community in Philadelphia has come together and is working to make sure that everyone is taken care of,” Garrow said in an email.

By Sarah Gantz