Urgent Cares in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said trying to give people better access to primary care is still essential.

“It is too early to determine the impact [of urgent care] on Philadelphia’s health system or the health of residents,” Farley said, “but they are not a substitute for an ongoing relationship with a strong primary care provider.”

https://billypenn.com/2020/02/11/urgent-cares-are-suddenly-everywhere-in-philly-can-they-help-boost-the-citys-health/

By Michaela Winberg

Philadelphia Air Quality Survey

Now, that is changing. After years of preparation, city officials will soon release the first report quantifying the street-level pollution in each and every Philadelphia neighborhood. The report is scheduled for public release later this winter or in early spring.

“People want to know what the air quality is like in their neighborhood; that’s a very reasonable request. Up until now, we have not been able to tell them that,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

https://whyy.org/articles/philly-has-a-new-way-to-track-air-quality-but-it-wont-help-in-an-emergency/

By Catalina Jaramillo

Hepatitis Response Report

Release

PHILADELPHIA–Less than six months after declaring an outbreak of Hepatitis A to be a public health emergency, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has released a report on the response showing that, after an intensive vaccination campaign and the installation of public toilets, the city experienced a greater than 90% drop from a peak of nearly 120 Hepatitis A cases in August 2019 to fewer than 10 cases in December 2019.

https://mailchi.mp/phila.gov/health-department-announces-hepatitis-a-outbreak-response-leading-to-a-sharp-drop-in-cases

Philly Voice

Due to these initiatives, health officials began seeing a sharp decline in hepatitis A cases in September, when 50 cases were reported. Monthly totals dipped to 36 in October, 15 in November and nine in December.

https://www.phillyvoice.com/philly-hepatitis-a-outbreak-cases-decline-outreach-initiatives/

By Tracey Romero

Inquirer

“The most successful strategy to combat these outbreaks is an intensive vaccination campaign, which we implemented and appears to have worked,” said city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “While we are excited to see these results, there is much more work to be done to ensure that the infection does not flare up again.”

https://www.inquirer.com/health/hepatitis-a-outbreak-health-emergency-kensington-opioid-20200207.html

By Rita Giordano

Benzene Follow-up

But James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Health Department, says the city has had the EPA data for months and compared it to its own data from a monitor in Point Breeze.

He says the city doesn’t concur with the group’s dire warnings.

“Yes, there was benzene in the air found in the study, but we never felt that it was a threat to human health there in South Philly,” Garrow said.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/group-pes-refinery-released-dangerously-high-benzene-level

By Mark Abrams

Chinatown Coronavirus Lunch

Fox 29

Despite zero cases of coronavirus in Philadelphia, unnecessary fear is hurting restaurants; however, the city health commissioner says people should be more worried about the flu than this.

“The coronavirus is not spreading in Philadelphia right now. There is a global public health risk but we’re not seeing it in Philadelphia. This infection really does not appear to be that easy to spread,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.

https://www.fox29.com/news/mayor-kenney-dines-in-chinatown-to-help-ease-fears-of-the-coronavirus

By Marcus Espinoza

CBS3

Health officials say they have mechanisms and procedures in place should any cases arise.

“Countries that have strong public health organizations like the United States have been able to contain the spread of the virus. At the health department, we have a team of people working full time to identify any cases that occur in Philadelphia and to make sure they’re not spreading it to others,” Farley said.

https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2020/02/06/philadelphia-mayor-jim-kenney-has-lunch-in-chinatown-to-quell-coronavirus-fears/

By Natasha Brown

KYW1060

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley says they’re closely monitoring the virus.

“We have a team of people working full time to identify any cases that occur in Philadelphia and to make sure they are not spreading it to others, and under a new protocol to monitor people who’ve come from affected areas that if they develop symptoms, they’re not spreading it to others,” Farley explained.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/in-philly-mayor-tries-to-ease-fears-of-wuhan-coronavirus

By Justin Udo

NBC10

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/mayor-kenney-eats-shrimp-dumplings-in-chinatown-telling-people-its-safe/2289975/

By Stephania Jimenez

Inquirer

“Come back to Chinatown and eat — it’s great,” the mayor said before taking a seat at Ocean Harbor restaurant, a dim sum emporium just a block from where Chinatown was founded in 1870. “Chinatown is safe. The city is safe. America is safe. Everybody should relax.”

https://www.inquirer.com/news/coronavirus-kenney-epidemic-philadelphia-chinatown-racism-20200206.html

By Jeff Gammage

Daily Pennsylvanian

Last Thursday afternoon, Kenney was joined by Philadelphia’s Managing Director Brian Abernathy, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, and city councilman Mark Squilla for lunch at Ocean Harbor restaurant, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Come back to Chinatown and eat — it’s great,” Kenney told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Chinatown is safe. The city is safe. America is safe. Everybody should relax.”

https://www.thedp.com/article/2020/02/coronavirus-mayor-jim-kenney-chinatown-philly-xenophobia

By Jonah Charlton

 

Missing Overdose Victims

“This is rising,” Health Department spokesperson Jim Garrow told Billy Penn. “We think that people are calling 911, administering naloxone and then the person is revived. Their life is saved. And they don’t want to wait for the ambulance.”

https://billypenn.com/2020/01/28/when-philly-paramedics-arrive-many-overdose-victims-have-vanished/

By Max Marin

The City’s Response to Opioids

In 2018, Philadelphia saw a modest decrease in overdose deaths — from 1,217 in 2017 to 1,116. Unfortunately, the decrease didn’t start a downward trend. Preliminary estimates from the Department of Public Health suggest overdose deaths in 2019 will end up close to the 2018 number.

https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/opioid-crisis-response-philadelphia-2020-20200125.html

By Staff

Philadelphia Tracking Opioid Prescribers

In 2018, health officials issued new prescribing guidance to more than 15,000 doctors in the Philadelphia region. Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said his department sent staff into more than 1,000 offices to work directly with doctors to curb prescriptions and come up with alternative approaches to pain management. By most accounts, it’s working: According to city data, the number of opioid prescriptions decreased by 30% between early 2017 and early 2019.

Even so, Farley said, there are still too many prescription drugs floating around.

“We find that, despite the large amounts of publicity, there are still some doctors out there that don’t understand that their prescribing practices really aren’t good for their patients in the long run,” he said. “They were taught for years to prescribe more opioids.”

https://whyy.org/articles/philly-to-start-tracking-doctors-to-target-opioid-overprescribers/

By Nina Feldman

State of the Tattoo Community

The number of tattoo artists and businesses has grown in recent decades, the artists say, but it’s hard to tell by the number of body artist licenses issued alone. The city currently reports more than 400 people carry said license. The body artists license includes piercing and microblading, and tattoo artists are part of a transient community, according to a spokesman for the city’s Department of Public Health.

https://whyy.org/articles/artists-say-philly-remains-on-top-of-the-tattoo-world-despite-changing-industry/

By Ximena Conde

EPA Benzene Report

Inquirer

Philadelphia’s Air Management Services, under the health department, operates 10 monitors around the city measuring ambient levels of air pollutants including benzene. The monitor closest to the plant, at 24th and Ritner Streets, never detected benzene amounts that would raise a public health alarm in the years prior to the fire, said James Garrow, a health department spokesman.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/energy/philadephia-refinery-auction-pes-land-reuse-pollution-20200117.html

By Andrew Maykuth

NBC News

James Garrow, a spokesman for Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health, said in a statement that “it is a well-known fact that refineries emit benzene during operation.” He said that a city-run air monitor a half mile from where the refinery’s highest benzene emissions were recorded didn’t record excessive benzene emissions after the disaster and that any “responsible bidder” would seek out such information.

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/massive-oil-refinery-leaks-toxic-chemical-middle-philadelphia-n1115336

By Corbin Hiar, E&E News and Lisa Riordan Seville

WHYY

Garrow said the city did not disclose the information to the public because testing at a city air-monitoring station at 24th and Ritner streets did not show such high levels.

“Within the community, we never found levels of benzene high enough to indicate a threat to human health,” he said.

https://whyy.org/articles/high-levels-of-cancer-causing-gas-recorded-at-pes-refinery-in-may-report-reveals/

By Catalina Jaramillo

WHYY 2

James Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Public Health, told WHYY that the EPA informed the city that PES was exceeding the limit last May. According to the EPA’s rule, the action level is not an enforceable limit. But it gives refineries surpassing the limit 45 days to submit a report analysing the possible causes and establishing ways to fix them.

https://whyy.org/articles/chicago-based-hilco-redevelopment-partners-expected-to-be-new-pes-refinery-owner/

By Catalina Jaramillo