July 28: PDPH Advisory – COVID-19 Updates and Guidance on Duration of Isolation 

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health released the following Health Advisory on July 28:

COVID-19 Updates and Guidance on Duration of Isolation 

Summary Points: 

  • COVID-19 case counts in Philadelphia remain relatively stable despite increases in other areas of the U.S.
  • COVID-19 is increasingly affecting younger populations in Philadelphia (<40 years of age).
  • Providers can assist with contact tracing by assuring accuracy of patient contact info and discussing contact tracing with patients.
  • Updated recommendations on duration of isolation and quarantine are included on the attached table.

Although cases of COVID-19 have been increasing rapidly in the western and southern areas of the U.S., case counts in Philadelphia have been relatively stable since mid-June. Presently, 130-160 infections are being reported daily. New hospitalizations and deaths are low, compared to peak occurrence in April 2020. In addition, the number of new COVID-19 cases and associated outbreaks being recognized in congregate settings, such as long-term care facilities and shelters, is low. The patient population being infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Philadelphia is growing increasingly younger. The percentage of cases with this infection by age group, in July compared to April, are: 12% and 3% for persons <20 yrs; 47% and 28% for 20-39 yrs; 26% and 32% for 40-59 yrs; 13% and 26% for 60-79 yrs; and 2% and 11% for >80 yrs, respectively.

PDPH has started to contact COVID-19 cases and their contacts to try to prevent continued spread of the virus. Contact tracing needs provider assistance to help assure success. Doing the following will greatly help COVID containment:

  • Confirm with the patient that their phone number and address on lab orders is accurate. Please make sure any COVID test orders contain the latest patient phone number and address, so PDPH can reach them quickly.
  • Notify patients of test results ASAP. PDPH has occasionally reached patients with COVID positive test results before their providers have informed them. PDPH thinks that patients should hear from their providers first, so please make notification calls ASAP.
  • Inform patients about PDPH Contact Tracing. When testing and providing results to patients, let them know that PDPH will call those who test positive. Assure patients that providing information on close contacts helps to protect their loved ones and to get our City back to a ‘new normal’. Additional details can be found at www.phila.gov/covid by clicking on the “contact tracing” tab.

See: Criteria to Discontinue Isolation or Quarantine for Persons Exposed to or with Confirmed/Suspected COVID-19 (table)

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