North Philly’s guide to navigating the impact of coronavirus

How to get the resources you and your family need to stay healthy, safe, and occupied.

This guide was last updated on May 27, 2020.
We’ll be updating frequently as we get more information.
Email us with suggestions or corrections. 

GENERAL UPDATES

  • For general information about COVID-19 from the city, click here.
  • For regular updates on COVID-19 from the city, click here
  • For COVID-19 text alerts, text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
  • For the 24/7 Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline, call 1-800-722-7112 to speak with a health care professional.
  • For information on how to stay safe, click here.
  • For information about home care for someone who is sick, click here
  • For information about home cleaning during COVID-19, click here
  • For information about what to do if you’re sick, go to the CDC’s website.

“REOPENING” THE STATE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a reopening guidance for communities, schools, workplaces, and events. You can read it here

Pennsylvania Updates

  • All Pennsylvania counties will move to the “Yellow” phase of the governor’s state reopening plan on June 5. Many businesses that are not life-sustaining, and were closed before, will now be able to reopen with guidance from the state. 
  • For businesses, this means:
    • Telework must continue where feasible
    • Businesses with in-person operations must follow Business and Building Safety Orders
    • Child Care is open as long as facilities comply with state/local guidance
    • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions are still in place
    • Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction
  • For the public, this means:
    • Stay at Home Orders are lifted, with social distancing still mandatory
    • Large gatherings of more than 25 are not allowed
    • In-Person Retail is Allowable, however Curbside and Delivery  are the preferred method of retail business
    • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
    • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
    • Wear a mask when out of the house
  • To read Pennsylvania’s state reopening guidelines, click here.
  • To read Pennsylvania’s guidelines for businesses reopening, click here.

SYMPTOMS & PRECAUTIONS

Important information

  • Most people are asymptomatic, which means you will not show symptoms or your symptoms will be mild.
  • Asymptomatic people are still contagious. You can give coronavirus to your parents, grandparents, neighbors, and immunocompromised people without even knowing. This is why you should social distance and stay at home even if you still don’t show symptoms
  • Wearing a face mask doesn’t stop you from getting the virus, but it does help to not spread the virus to others. You should wear a mask even if you don’t show symptoms, just in case you are asymptomatic and not showing any symptoms.

Symptoms

  • Dry cough
  • Fever   
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle pain

Precautions

  • Wash your hands for at least 20-30 seconds
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Avoid sick people
  • Practice socially distancing yourself
  • Keep 6 feet space between people

For more information on symptoms and precautions, visit the CDC website.

TESTING

COVID-19 diagnostic test vs. antibody test

  • The COVID-19 diagnostic test is available at testing sites across the city. It uses a nasal swab to tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the diagnostic test uses swab samples from your respiratory system, like your nose, to see if you have the infection (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. 
  • COVID-19 antibody tests are not yet available at the city-run testing sites. However, some private health care providers, like Vybe Urgent Care, offer them. They use a blood sample to tell you if you were previously infected with COVID-19. No antibody tests have been approved by the FDA. However, they’re permitted under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. Generally, the FDA will give emergency use authorization to antibody tests that are able to detect 90 percent of people with coronavirus antibodies and produce false positives in fewer than 5% of cases.

Diagnostic testing

Who should get a diagnostic test

  • According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the following people should get a COVID-19 diagnostic test: 
    • People of any age with fever and cough or shortness of breath if symptoms are severe or worsening
    • Individuals with symptoms who are over 50
    • Individuals with symptoms who have medical conditions that might increase the severity of the infection, including diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease or other immunocompromising conditions
    • Health care workers
    • People who live or work in a facility with other people, such as nursing homes, prisons, and shelters
  • According to the CDC, people who have any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19 should get immediate medical attention:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

Who should not get a diagnostic test

  • People who do not have symptoms of COVID-19
  • People who are only mildly sick
  • People who are otherwise healthy and are not feeling short of breath or experiencing worsening cough and fever
  • People who are sick but do not need testing should stay at home away from other people until their symptoms are better
    • Click here to read the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s guidance on home care during quarantine or isolation.

Important information about getting a diagnostic test

  • The city has created a website for COVID-19 testing sites in Philadelphia, which allows people to find a nearby diagnostic testing site that doesn’t require money, insurance or proof of citizenship. The information is available in multiple languages.
  • You need an appointment for all of the city-supported testing sites. You can’t just show up at a testing site.
  • You don’t need a doctor’s referral for the city-supported sites. Just call the listed phone numbers to make an appointment.
  • You don’t need a photo ID or insurance or money to get tested at any of the city-supported testing sites; the test will be done at no cost. However, bring your driver’s license or PHL City ID and insurance card if you have them.
  • You’ll have to check in at the testing site and provide contact information in order to receive your results.
  • You might have to wait a while once you’re at the testing site depending on how busy it is during that time.
  • It may take 2-6 days to receive your results, depending on what laboratory performs the test, which can differ between sites.
  • “Privately run” means that the testing site isn’t run by the government. In Philadelphia, that can include hospitals and health systems and organizations.
  • You might need a referral for the privately run and hospital system testing sites. You’ll need to call the phone numbers listed below for more information.
  • The following sites listed on the city’s website require a telehealth consultation beforehand:
    • American Family Care (AFC) Urgent Care
    • vybe urgent care
  • Telehealth consultations might not be covered by your insurance provider, so you should check beforehand. Exceptions include:
    • Medicare beneficiaries now have expanded telehealth benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, under a new federal rule. You might still have to pay the usual coinsurance and deductible, but some providers are reducing or waving those costs. For more information, go here or here.
    • The state’s Office of Medical Assistance Programs issued a guidance to providers that telemedicine can be used to provide services to Medicaid fee-for-service beneficiaries and Physical HealthChoices members, and the state will pay for it. For more information, click here.
  • These sites only perform testing. If you have a worsening cough, shortness of breath, or fever over 101 for more than three days, please seek medical attention from your primary care provider, an urgent care clinic, or a hospital emergency department (call in advance to tell them you have symptoms so they can prepare and wear a mask if possible).
  • Wear a surgical mask over your nose and mouth when traveling to a testing site. If you do not have a surgical mask, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth.

City-supported diagnostic testing sites

  • City Health Center 2 (19145), 215-685-2933
  • City Health Center 3 (19104), 215-685-2933
  • City Health Center 4 (19104), 215-685-2933
  • City Health Center 5 (19121), 215-685-2933
  • City Health Center 6 (19123), 215-685-2933
  • City Health Center 10 (19149), 215-685-2933
  • City Walk-Up Test Site, 500 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146, 267-491-5870
  • Strawberry Mansion Health Center (19132), 215-685-2933

Hospital system diagnostic testing sites

  • Jefferson Center City (19107), 800-533-3669
  • Jefferson Navy Yard (19112), 800-533-3669
  • Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Campus (19125), 215-707-1200
  • Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus (19111), 215-707-6999
  • Tower Health (19116), 215-552-2800

Privately run diagnostic testing sites

  • Abbottsford Falls Family Practice & Counseling (19144), 215-843-9720
  • Family Health Services (19123), 267-809-2511
  • Health Annex (19142),  267-356-0362
  • Kensington Rock Ministries/Esperanza (19134)
    • Monday-Friday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
    • Walk-up next to Rock Ministries
    • 2755 Kensington Ave, 19134
  • Rite Aid (19138), 215-224-9997
  • Spectrum Community Health Center (19139), 215-471-2761
  • Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Hunting Park Health Center (19140), 215-271-4286
    • Starting on May 6, people can start calling to schedule a telehealth appointment for screening and assessment. Testing starts May 11.
  • Delaware Valley Community Health, Maria de los Santos Health Center (19133), 215-291-2500
  • Delaware Valley Community Health, Fairmount Primary Care Center at Girard Medical Center (19122), 215-827-8010
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (19104), 267-414-2303
  • Public Health Management Corporation, 855-887-9229
    • PHMC Health Connection (19122)
    • PHMC Rising Sun Health Center (19120)
    • Congreso Health Center (19133)
  • Rite Aid (19134), 215-743-8530
  • CVS Pharmacy (19128), make an appointment at cvs.com  
    • Must be 18 or older and showing symptoms
    • Drive-thru or curbside available
    • Insurance is accepted at the site, but people who are uninsured don’t have to pay out of pocket. 
    • 6701 Ridge Avenue, Building 1, 215-483-4179

Other diagnostic testing options

  • If you’re a patient at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), call 800-879-2467
  • If you’re a patient at Temple University Hospital, call 215-707-6999
  • If you’re a patient at Einstein Medical Center, call 1-800-346-7834
  • If you’re a patient at Einstein Physicians Olney, call 800-346-7834
  • If you’re a patient at Einstein Physicians Mayfair, call 800-346-7834
  • If you’re a patient at a City Health Center, call 215-685-2933
  • If you’re a patient at Jefferson Health, they ask patients to contact them via the JeffConnect portal
  • If you’re a patient at Mercy Hospital, call 215-748-9000
  • If you’re a patient Penn Medicine, call 267-785-8585
  • If you’re a patient at Main Line Health, call 1-866-225-5654

Antibody testing

Important information about antibody tests

  • According to the CDC, antibodies are proteins found in blood that develop in response to foreign substances, like viruses and bacteria, and fight off diseases. 
  • It can take about 1-3 weeks for antibodies to develop after symptoms begin, so antibody tests can confirm if a patient has had prior exposure to the coronavirus. However, they might not find antibodies in someone with a newer or active infection as it can take up to three weeks for antibodies to be fully detectable.
  • The CDC doesn’t know if COVID-19 antibodies can prevent someone from getting the virus again or how long that protection might last.

For more information, click here.

Where to get an antibody test

Vybe Urgent Care

  • All COVID-19 visits at Vybe begin with a virtual telemedicine visit where a clinician will determine whether you need a diagnostic test or antibody test. 
  • Antibody tests involve drawing a blood sample, which takes place inside of Vybe’s facility. 
  • Vybe’s antibody test can cost up to $100 for people who don’t have medical coverage, whereas a nasal swab test is free.
  • To set up an appointment, visit the Vybe website.

FACE MASKS

  • The CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public, especially where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. 
  • As of April 15, Pennsylvania health officials have mandated that all businesses must require both employees and customers to wear masks. 
  • Medical-grade face coverings like surgical and N95 masks are in limited supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, according to the CDC
  • Instead, the CDC advises people to make their own masks, which can be made with household supplies using bandannas, t-shirts, and scarves, at little to no cost. 
  • The CDC published this guide, which includes information on how to make masks at home with or without sewing materials. It also offers tips on how to wear, remove, and clean masks. 
  • In addition to wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19; the CDC advises civilians to keep practicing social distancing of six feet when outside, frequently washing hands, and avoiding touching your face.

FOOD

City of Philadelphia

  • The city has consolidated all of its information on meal sites and food assistance resources on a single web page here. You can check locations, hours of operation, and pick-up details through their interactive map by using filters.
    • Food pantries/sites
    • Student meal sites
    • Senior meal sites
    • Outdoor meal sites

Free, nutritious food from the city

  • Sites are often open at varying days and times, check the city’s interactive map to find a location and time near you.
  • Residents can pick up one box per household. Supplies will last up to five days.
  • Residents do not need to present an ID or proof of income for eligibility.
  • For site locations, click here.
  • The city is working to expand the list of sites. Check back often.

School meal sites for children

  • 49 Philadelphia School District schools are open from 9 a.m – noon on Thursdays.
  • Each child will be able to pick up a box of five breakfast meals, five lunch meals and a ½ gallon of milk for each student in your family.
  • Each box weighs six pounds so the district encourages participants to bring a wheeled cart or way to carry the boxes if they are picking up meals for multiple students in the household.
  • Social distancing, the use of masks and gloves, and other safety precautions will continue to be practiced.
  • Six Philadelphia Housing Authority community centers are open from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. every weekday. Each child will receive breakfast and lunch.
  • Several charter schools are also distributing meals. Times and days vary.
  • Any child is eligible at any site. No ID is required.
  • Click here for a list of sites.

FeedPhillyNow

  • FeedPhillyNow is an initiative started in partnership with the USDA and Kensington Capital Group to provide free lunches, snacks, and resources to households with children under the age of 18 in Philadelphia during COVID-19.
  • All children under the age of 18 are entitled to five lunches and snacks.
  • Visit the website www.feedphillynow.com to register your household.
  • Text or call (267) 973-5523 after registration to plan drop-offs.
  • Deliveries should start by the end of the week your household registered.

Step Up to the Plate

  • Step Up to the Plate is a collaboration between Broad Street Ministry, Project HOME, and Prevention Point Philadelphia to ensure access to food and medical care for Philadelphians experiencing homelessness during COVID-19.
  • Grab-and-go meals will be distributed Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 1 PM at the north side of City Hall and from 1 PM to 3 PM in Kensington at E. Clearfield and Ruth Streets.
  • At both sites, COVID-19-related health care services and resources will be available for those experiencing homelessness. In Center City, Project HOME’s Hub of Hope staff will provide services. In Kensington, services will be provided by Prevention Point Philadelphia.

MANNA

  • Provides meals for individuals with a serious illness and nutritional risk.
  • The referral form can be found here or by calling (215) 496-2662, ext. 5.

Philabundance

  • Provides a map of Emergency Kitchens, which serve hot meals, and Food Cupboards, which are pantries, across the city.
  • Find food near you by visiting the Philabundance website.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA)

  • Works with senior centers throughout the city to provide Grab and Go lunch options.
  • Call 215-765-9040 or visit their website for more information. 

SNAP

  • Residents who need help buying food can get SNAP with no work requirement.  
  • Call the Coalition Against Hunger SNAP hotline at 215-430-0556.

WhyHunger

  • This organization refers people in need across the U.S. to food pantries, soup kitchens, government programs and grassroots organizations.
  • Call or text 1-800-548-6479 for more information.

WIC

  • All WIC offices will be open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • You will be able to load your eWIC card with 3 months of benefits while keeping a safe distance from others.
  • You may also apply over the phone or send someone else to the office for you, but you need to call the WIC office ahead of time to notify them. This person should bring an ID with them. 1-800-942-9467.

HOUSING

Homeowners

Pennsylvania stops foreclosures through July 10

  • Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvanians are protected from foreclosures or evictions through July 10. This extends the PA Supreme Court order which closed court eviction proceedings until May 11 and ensures no renter or homeowner will be removed from their home for 60 more days.

Federal Housing Administration has suspended foreclosures and evictions

  • As of right now, there will be no foreclosures or evictions with FHA-insured single family mortgages until the end of June.
  • Call your mortgage company and ask if your home is “FHA insured.”
  • This information can also be found in your closing papers, which you got when you settled, but if you refinanced the original loan then you should look at the closing documents from when you refinanced and not the original loan closing.
  • On May 14, the federal government also announced that it would suspend foreclosures until June 30 on all mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-4463 if you have questions.

Free Housing Counseling

Property Taxes

  • The deadline to pay your Philadelphia property tax has now been extended to June 15. 
  • This is the second time this deadline has been moved (previously extended to April 30th).
  • Visit the city’s website to learn more.

Renters

Pennsylvania temporarily stops evictions

  • Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvanians are protected from foreclosures or evictions through July 10. This extends the PA Supreme Court order which closed court eviction proceedings until May 11 and ensures no renter or homeowner will be removed from their home for 60 more days.

PHA Suspending Evictions, Offering Waivers

  • The CARES Act includes a temporary moratorium (120 days) on evictions for nonpayment of rent, as well as fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent, according to HUD.
  • The agency is postponing all court appointments for residents who are facing charges of failure to pay rent.
  • PHA will also offer hardship waivers to residents who lost a job or suffered a pay cut because of the pandemic.

Rental Assistance

  • For more information, click here or call 215-433-0938

Good Shepherd Mediation Program

  • The City of Philadelphia and Good Shepherd Mediation Program have partnered up to help Philadelphia renters and landlords experiencing conflicts during COVID-19. The program is offering free, virtual mediation sessions. Translation services for the sessions are available.

Urban League of Philadelphia

  • The Urban League of Philadelphia is giving families, who are at risk of foreclosure or eviction, financial assistance. The nonprofit received $50,000 from the PHL COVID-19 Fund. Email housing@urbanleaguephila.org to apply for funds.

UTILITIES

There will be no utility shut-offs until further notice

  • The Philadelphia Gas Works is suspending non-payment terminations and we plan to waive new late payment charges. This termination freeze will remain in place until further notice. Please note that regular billing will continue for all customers.
  • PECO has suspended service disconnections through at least June 1, 2020. Late payment fees will not be charged through at least July 1, 2020.
  • The Philadelphia Water Department has suspended late fees until further notice and shut offs until July 10.
  • The Philadelphia Water Department will also restore water service to all delinquent customers whose water has previously been terminated. The restoration fee will be waived. Customers who have been shut off for not repairing defects in their private plumbing will still need to make the necessary repairs to have their water restored.

Neighborhood Energy Centers (NEC) 

LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program

  • Philadelphia Gas Works started a LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program for low-income customers who have been impacted by COVID-19 and have a past-due bill. Grants of up to $800 will be awarded. The program is open until August 31, 2020 or until funds run out. 

    • Homeowners and renters can apply online or print out the application (English, Spanish) and mail it to 1348 W. Sedgley Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19132-2498.

INTERNET

Free internet for two months

  • If you apply for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program by June 30, you will receive two free months of internet. After the promotion, regular rates apply ($9.95/mo).
  • Households can apply here or call 855-846-8376 (English) or 855-765-6995 (Spanish).
  • Comcast will send all new customers a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. There will be no term contracts, credit checks, or shipping fees.

Already have internet? There won’t be shut-offs

  • Various internet service providers pledged that for 60 days, participating internet service providers should:
    • Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic
    • Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic
    • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them

SCHOOLS

Digital learning

  • Philadelphia public schools are closed for the rest of the school year because of COVID-19. Instead, students in grades K-12 will be receiving online instruction. Read the School District of Philadelphia’s Continuity of Education Plan here
  • Philadelphia public schools will be virtually closed on June 2 for the primary election.
  • In order for students and teachers to do digital learning, the school district has been giving out Chromebooks to its students. The district’s instruction plan, which starts May 4, includes:
    • 3 hours of class a day, Monday through Friday, using Google Classroom
    • Math, English, Science, Social Studies, World Language, Health/P.E., Postsecondary Readiness, CTE, and special education services
    • Scheduled office hours with teachers for students and families. If necessary, teachers will reach out to parents via email or phone.
    • For more information about the instruction plan and grading, click here.
  • PreK-12 learning guides are available here and at all the school district’s meal sites. Students in preschool will not receive online learning. 
  • For more information about support for students with an Individualized Education Plan, click here.
  • For additional resources for students who are English language learners and students with special needs, click here.
  • For more help, go to the district’s Digital Learning Resources.

English Language Learner Glossaries

  • Glossaries with terms for different subjects, such as Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math, are available for students who speak languages other than English.
  • To see the full list of glossaries, click here.

Chromebooks

  • To see the school district’s Chromebook news and updates, go here.
  • If a student still doesn’t have a Chromebook, go here
  • The district is offering a variety of technical support for its Chromebooks:
    • Call the telephone support line at 215-400-4444
    • Email FamilyTechSupport@philasd.org
    • Go to the Parent and Family Technology Support Centers:
      • From April 29 to May 1, both support centers will open at 9 a.m. and close at 1 p.m.
      • Starting Monday, May 4th, both centers will operate only three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • For more information, visit the Philadelphia School District’s Chromebook FAQs page

Internet access

  • Here is a list of Internet access options, including low-cost Internet promotions from providers, such as Comcast and Verizon.

Questions and more information

Visit the district’s Coronavirus FAQs page.

FAMILY SUPPORT

Free baby food, formula, and diapers

  • Visit the city’s website to view a list of free pregnancy, baby, and toddler resources and support for families
  • Residents can visit the site below to pick up free food and baby supplies.
  • Casa del Carmen is located at 4400 North Reese St., Phila., PA 19140.
  • The site is open Monday to Wednesday from 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
  • Residents must call 267-331-2500 to make an appointment. 

Free cribs

Virtual pregnancy & family support programs

WIC

  • Some WIC clinics are closed or have limited hours, but they are still available to help. Call 1-800-WIC-WINS or your local clinic for more information.
  • You will be able to load your eWIC card with three months of benefits while keeping a safe distance from others. 
  • You may also apply over the phone or send someone else to the office for you, but you need to call the WIC office ahead of time to notify them. This person should bring an ID with them. 1-800-942-9467. 
  • To enroll in Philadelphia WIC, fill out an online form, email phillywic@northwic.org, or call 215-978-6100.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Filing for unemployment

  • If you lost your job, you can apply for unemployment online at www.uc.pa.gov or call the statewide number at 1-888-313-7284.
  • After you apply for unemployment, every two weeks you must file a claim at www.uc.pa.gov or by calling 1-888-255-4728 and report any hours you worked, paid time off you received, and pay you received.

If you need additional help or are denied benefits

For more information

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Drexel University’s Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Laboratory (SWRE) is looking for research participants in Philadelphia and New York City to observe and report on parks in their area. The study aims to better understand park usage during the time of COVID-19 and social distancing.

  • Kensington-area parks: McPherson Square, Harrowgate Park, Norris Square, Hope Park, Fairhill Square, and Stephen E Fotterall Square.
  • Fill out a survey twice a day, seven days a week based on observations from a 30-minute visit to your assigned park. The study will last eight weeks.
  • $10/per survey, which results in a maximum payment of $140 a week and a total of $1,120 over the eight-week study period.
  • Fill out the consent form and application here (available in English and Spanish).
    • For more information, email swre.research@gmail.com.

SMALL BUSINESSES

Business activity and stay at home order

  • The City of Philadelphia issued a Business Activity and Stay at Home Order on March 23 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order states which types of essential businesses can continue operating during the duration of the order. Businesses classified as non-essential had to close their physical locations. The city’s order is in effect until further notice. Here’s a list of businesses that can stay open in Philadelphia.
  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life sustaining businesses to close their locations on March 19. The COVID-19 business closure order is in effect until further notice. Here’s a list of life-sustaining businesses.

Operating guidelines for essential businesses and organizations

  • The City of Philadelphia published some COVID-19 guidance for essential businesses and organizations. That document covers what to do if an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, social distancing strategies, cleaning protocols, and more.
  • On April 15, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued an order with more protocols aiming to protect critical workers in life-sustaining businesses. The order requires employers to provide employees with masks, install shields or barriers at check-out areas, limit the maximum occupancy to 50% of the usual maximum, deny entry to any customers not wearing masks, and much more. You can read all the new protocols here.

Resources and relief funds

  • The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money in mid-April, received more than $320 billion from the latest federal relief package on April 24. 
  • The City of Philadelphia has an information and resources page for businesses impacted by COVID-19. The page has a list of federal relief programs, financial assistance, utility information, business resources, and additional guidance.
  • Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) has a regularly updated list of COVID-19 funding and financial assistance programs, which clearly shows what is still available.
  • Small business owners can fill out this survey letting the city know how coronavirus is impacting their business.
  • New Kensington CDC’s Economic Development team is connecting businesses with aid. For more information, email Jessi Koch at jkoch@nkcdc.org or Jake Norton at jnorton@nkcdc.org, or call 215-427-0350.

IRS STIMULUS CHECK

Who’s eligible for a stimulus check

  • Individuals who earn under $75,000 can get $1,200, plus $500 for every qualified child.
  • Married couples who earn $150,000 or less can get $2,400, plus $500 for every qualified child.
  • For filers with income above those thresholds, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above $75,000/$150,000.
  • Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers exceeding $198,000 with no children are not eligible.

Getting your $1,200 stimulus check

  • For people who filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and included bank account information, you don’t have to do anything.
  • For people who filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 but did not include bank account information, click here. You may have to wait for a paper check, which will delay your relief payments. 
  • For people who didn’t file a tax return for either of the past two years, click here

Check your stimulus check status

  • To check your stimulus check status, click here.

FINANCIAL COUNSELING

APM Financial Opportunity Center

  • APM’s Financial Opportunity Center is still helping with financial counseling. They will be able to support residents with budgeting, predatory lending, credit coaching, and foreclosure counseling. 
  • Email diane.reyes@apmphila.org or melinda.martinez@apmphila.org for more information.

Clarifi

  • Clarifi is still offering financial counseling during the coronavirus crisis. Financial counselors at Clarifi have begun tailoring their services to specifically assist with financial impacts resulting from this pandemic.
  • Clarifi’s services include:
    • Developing a crisis spending plan to prioritize spending due to job loss or a loss of income
    • Applying for relief through lenders such as student loans, banks, credit card companies
    • Finding other resources
    • Creating a plan for recovery
  • Call 1-855-346-7445 or email clarifiteam@clarifi.org to speak with a counselor.

NURSING HOMES AND LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

Limited visitation

  • Families and friends of loved ones who live in personal care homes, assisted living residences, continuing care communities, or nursing care facilities are not allowed to visit. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH), “contact with visitors is the primary way that residents could become exposed to and contract COVID-19.”
  • Non-essential personnel, like barbers and beauticians, are not allowed to enter these facilities.
  • The following essential personnel are allowed to enter these facilities and should be provided adequate personal protective equipment:
    • Health care workers providing hospice and home care services
    • Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistant and other clinicians
    • The Department of Aging and Department of Human Services, when there are reports of serious bodily injury, sexual abuse, or serious physical injury
  • Visitation is allowed for compassionate care situations like end of life care, clergy, and bereavement counselors. This will be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
  • For more information, follow this link to read PDOH’s FAQ regarding nursing care facilities.

COVID-19 cases

  • More than two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 deaths have been among people living in nursing homes and personal care homes, according to WHYY on May 20. 
  • Starting May 17, nursing homes in Pennsylvania were required to report their facilities’ number of coronavirus cases, deaths, and testing status.
  • Here’s a spreadsheet with the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities, including Department of Health and Department of Human Services regulated facilities. The spreadsheet is regularly updated and posted to the state’s website here (bottom of page). 
    • Disclaimer: There were errors in the state’s data when it was first published. Changes have been made to the data since then but there may still be some errors.

Statewide testing

  • In early May, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the start of their “universal testing strategy” for all of Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities’ residents and employees. View the announcement here. Disclaimer: The strategy received initial criticism from advocates claiming the plan is optional and insufficient, according to WHYY

Screening patients in Nursing and Long-term Care for COVID-19

  • Facilities should be screening patients every 12 hours for hallmark symptoms and signs of COVID-19.
  • If two of any of the signs/symptoms are detected, facilities should immediately:
    • Increase frequency of vital sign screening to every 8 hours (including checking heart rate and oxygen saturation)
    • Initatite precautions per CDC guidelines
    • Screen for influenza, and if negative screen for COVID-19
    • Check room oxygen levels
  • For more information, follow this link to read PDOH’s FAQ regarding nursing care facilities.

Screening staff in nursing and long-term care facilities for COVID-19

  • Staff must be screened upon entering the building using a checklist that has been developed by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
  • Facilities are recommended to take temperatures and document the following among staff: absence or shortness of breath, a new or change in cough, and a sore throat prior to starting each shift.
  • Sick employees should stay at home.
  • If an employee shows signs of sickness, they should leave the facility immediately wearing a facemask and self-isolate at home.
  • For more information, follow this link to read PDOH’s FAQ regarding nursing care facilities.

What can nursing care facilities offer to keep families involved?

  • Facilities should offer alternative means of communication in place of in-person visits.
    • Phone calls, video calls, SMS messaging, etc.
  • Creating or increasing listserv/newsletter communications to provide general updates to families.
  • Assigning staff members as primary contacts to designated families for inbound calls and regular outbound communication for updating families.
  • Offering a phone line with previously recorded updates about what’s happening at the facility 
  • For more information, follow this link to read PDOH’s FAQ regarding nursing care facilities.

What activities are permitted?

  • Residents are able to continue normal activities inside their room. When the state reopens businesses and allows for group activities and communal dining, regular activities can resume.

PRISONS

Philadelphia Department of Prisons

COVID-19 Testing

  • The Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP) announced that all the people currently incarcerated in PDP facilities will be tested for COVID-19 starting Wednesday, May 20. The entire testing process is expected to take 2 weeks.
  • For individuals who test positive for COVID-19, isolation space will be provided within their facility. Isolated individuals will reenter the general prison population once the following requirements are met:
    • 14 days have passed since symptoms were first discovered (21 days for those who are severely immunocompromised)
    • The person shows no sign of fever for three consecutive days without the help of fever-reducing medication
    • Improvement in respiratory symptoms
  • To see the number of current and total cases in PDP facilities, visit this link.

General Information

  • Visits from family and friends have been suspended. 
  • Weekend housing and work release have been suspended. 
  • Legal visits are still permitted, so long as the individual who is incarcerated is wearing a mask and the two parties maintain appropriate physical distance.
  • Individuals are given 15 minutes of phone calls each day as opposed to 10 minutes. 
  • Individuals are given two envelopes with postage each week and can still receive packages.
  • All court proceedings, except for emergency hearings, have been suspended.
  • People who are due for both early bail review and preliminary hearings for probation violations will continue to have virtual hearings. 
  • Both staff and incarcerated individuals are given masks, which they are required to wear. The PDP is currently soliciting mask donations here. 
  • Newly incarcerated individuals are quarantined for 14 days to keep them separate from the general population until they’re medically cleared. 
  • All incarcerated individuals are given regular temperature readings and those who have a fever of 100.4 or higher are quarantined. 
  • Individuals who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are quarantined and assessed further in a separate, 100-bed facility with potentially positive cases. 
  • Individuals who are currently incarcerated are housed “sheltered in place,” which means they are only allowed to leave for showers and phone calls. 
  • Individuals are receiving food and medication in their cells.  
  • All incarcerated individuals are provided with cleaning products with bleach to disinfect their cells.
  • For more information, visit the Philadelphia Department of Prisons website.

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

  • For more information, visit BOP’s COVID-19 resource page
  • As of 05/03/2020:
    • There are 141,306 people in BOP-managed facilities and 10,823 people in community-based facilities. The BOP staff is made up of about 36,000 people.
    • 1,926 incarcerated people and 350 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus, and 515 incarcerated people and 148 staff have recovered from the disease.
    • 38 people in BOP facilities have died from coronavirus. No staff members have died from the disease.
  • COVID-19 Modified Operations Plan
    • Visits are suspended, including legal visits, until May 18. For legal visits, there is case-by-case approval at the local level and confidential calls are allowed. If an in-person legal visit is approved, attorneys need to pass a screening.
    • In order to follow social distancing guidelines, meal times and recreation times have been spaced out.
    • Telephone minutes are free and were increased from 300 to 500 minutes per month. Video visits are free as well.
    • Health screenings, quarantine, and isolation
      • Incarcerated individuals who have just arrived at a facility are screened for COVID-19 risk factors and symptoms.
      • Asymptomatic (a person who doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms) individuals with risk factors are quarantined.
      • Symptomatic (a person who has COVID-19 symptoms) individuals with risk factors are isolated and tested for COVID-19.
      • Staff in regions experiencing widespread community transmission of COVID-19 and medical referral centers are receiving health screenings, which includes temperature checks and self-reporting.
    • Movement:
      • Moving an incarcerated person to another location is suspended with some exceptions: medical or mental health reasons, residential reentry center (RRC) placements, and to better manage a facility’s bedspace.
      • The BOP hasn’t stopped facilities from admitting new incarcerated individuals.
    • Home Confinement:
      • In response to the spread of COVID-19 in certain facilities and the United States Attorney General’s directives, the BOP has been reviewing the files of all incarcerated people, who have COVID-19 risk factors, to determine who is eligible for home confinement, also known as house arrest.
      • As of late March, the BOP has put 1,972 incarcerated people on house arrest.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

  • Everyone is being screened when they arrive and leave a facility.
  • The department’s COVID-19 page is tracking the number of incarcerated people and employees who have tested positive or negative for coronavirus, and the number of deaths for each location.
  • People are quarantined in their cells except for predetermined video visits, phone calls, access to the law library, and select in-person visits.
  • The department suggests scheduling a video visit one month in advance. You can read more about the video visitation program, including how to schedule a call, on the department’s COVID-19 page under mitigation measures.
  • Meals are being provided in cells. 
  • Incarcerated people are provided with disposable masks and daily cleaning materials for their cells. 
  • Staff have been provided with and are required to wear cloth masks. 
  • In-person visitations have been suspended since March 13. However, attorneys and some members of the PA Prison Society are allowed to visit in-person if they pass a screening.
  • People who are incarcerated will receive five free 15-minute phone calls per week, five free emails per week, and 12 free letters per month. Commissary maximums are now $100 per week. 
  • As of April 1, everyone who is incarcerated is receiving free cable TV in their cells, and TVs are available for purchase from the commissary. 
  • For more information, go to the department’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center

  • The Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center, which is the city’s only juvenile detention center, started testing youth in their center on May 20. The center is run by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, and youth are held there while they wait for their cases to be heard.
  • As of now, two youth in the center have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, according to the city.

Independent COVID-19 case trackers

MUTUAL AID

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

What they do

  • They offer support getting folks groceries, medicine, and supplies.  
  • They are run by volunteers, they don’t have any funding, and their aid comes directly from the community. 

Their priorities

  • The sick, elderly, disabled, undocumented, single parents, queer, Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color, those quarantined without pay, and those limited in work.

How it works

  • When a request for aid is made, they go into their network of community members who have volunteered to help and find a volunteer that meets the requester’s need.  
  • Once they match the person who made the request with the person/people who can provide support, they put them in touch and they figure out the details together from there.

Limitations

  • They are neighbors helping neighbors.  
  • The aid provided comes from community support and solidarity.  
  • They cannot guarantee to meet each request but they will try their best to do so.  
  • They are not funded and they are not a government or medical agency.  
  • They are simply people connecting their neighbors who need help with their neighbors who can help.

Contact

Equity Project

  • This organization in Kensington helps residents access resources and is committed to advancing racial equity through radical access. Equity Project provides a variety of help, including helping people fill-out applications.
  • During COVID-19, the Equity Project team is continuing to help residents access resources, including those that have been moved online, through the following ways:

Poor People’s Army

MEDICAL ADVOCACY

Project SAFE

  • Project SAFE is running a triage & wellness advocacy hotline. Their volunteers can:
    • Help direct people to medical or non-medical resources
    • Answer medical questions or concerns (staffed by nurses and experienced health professional students with appropriate higher-level trained support staff)
    • Provide support and advocacy for people who are in the hospital
    • Call 1-866-509-SAFE (7233) for Project SAFE’s 24/7 hotline
  • The main difference between the Project SAFE hotline and the hospital-based hotlines is that Project SAFE’s volunteers have training in and come from the perspective of harm-reduction. They usually serve street-based sex workers in Kensington, so they have experience handling more complex relationships with the medical system. They can also continue to follow up with people since they’re volume than most hotlines.

MENTAL HEALTH

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • The CDC outlines possible feelings of anxiety and stress that people can experience during a pandemic.
  • To help manage stress and symptoms of anxiety, the CDC lists tips and resources for individuals, parents, and communities experiencing this burden.
  • To learn and understand more, visit this link.

Individuals, families, teenagers, and children

  • Akeas Heart Inc. is available for teens experiencing anxiety or depression about COVID-19. For more information, call or text their crisis hotline at 484-961-0260.
  • Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha offers phone therapy. Call 267-296-7223 for more information. 
  • Healthy Minds Philly has a variety of resources. You can call a toll-free help line 24/7, 365 days a year regardless of insurance status at 1-888-545-2600.

#mindPHLtogether

  • For Mental Health Awareness Month, the city and Independence Blue Cross launched a new public awareness campaign called #mindPHLTogether. You can find free mental health resources at mindPHLtogether.com.

MBK Cares

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

For children

For adults

  • Duolingo is a free language-learning app available as a mobile app or on the computer.
  • USA Learns offers free English video lessons.
  • Janis’s ESOL offers worksheets and quizzes organized by topic.

Fab Youth Philly

  • Fab Youth Philly, a local organization that supports youth-serving organizations, put together a spreadsheet of virtual resources for teens. You can go through the list here and check out more resources on the group’s Instagram page at @fabyouthphilly.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Public gatherings and events

  • All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited according to the city government.
  • Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America festival, which runs from June 28-July 4, will be a virtual celebration this year. The week-long festivities will be online, and the July 4th concert will be broadcasted by NBC10. It’s still uncertain if the annual fireworks show will happen. More details about the concert and fireworks will be discussed at a press conference on June 10.
  • For more information, click here

Out-of-State Beaches

  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia officials have advised against traveling out of state to visit local beaches.
  • According to Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 outweigh the benefits of leaving your home, city, and state to visit New Jersey and Maryland beaches.

Tacony, Fairmount, & Delaware nature trails 

  • For information on and directions to nature trails only 20-30 minutes away from North Philly, call 215-433-0938.
  • To find nearby trails online, click this link.

Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips, and privately owned campgrounds

  • Starting May 1, golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips, and privately owned campgrounds will be reopened statewide, according to Governor Tom Wolf’s office.
  • These recreational businesses will still be required to follow the guidelines put in place for life-sustaining businesses.
  • Campgrounds in state parks will remain closed through at least May 14.

Public pools and spaces

  • In a proposed budget briefing for the coming year, administration officials for Mayor Kenney announced that Philadelphia public pools will be closed this summer, primarily due to budget cuts.
  • The possibility of less residents being able to visit public spaces due to social distancing measures and the possible lack of staffers to hire for public pools, also aided in their decision for closing public pools.
  • Officials also suggested that public spaces may see reduced operating hours and budgets for usual programming.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

City of Philadelphia

  • The city of Philadelphia has compiled information on volunteer opportunities on their website here.

Easter Outreach

  • This organization helps deliver thousands of meals to households in need of food assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • If you’d like to volunteer your help, apply at their website here.

Senior Citizens United Community Services

  • Volunteer opportunities include:
    • Preparing and/or delivering food bags
    • Shopping for shut-ins
    • Clerical assistance with day-to-day business activities
  • If you are interested in volunteering, please call the Volunteer Coordinator at (856) 456-1121 at Extension 160.
  • If you are interested in volunteering to deliver meals to homebound seniors, contact Mark Moffitt at (856) 456-1121 Extension 158.
  • You can also visit their website here.

Philabundance

  • If you are interested in volunteering with Philabundance, visit their website here.

United Way of Greater Philadelphia

West Kensington Ministry

  • Help make census phone calls.
  • Volunteers to help deliver food and resources (schedule is flexible)
  • Contact: 267-879-6310 or adan.mairena@gmail.com

Bebashi – Transition to Hope

  • A nonprofit agency that provides access to culturally sensitive healthcare services, HIV/AIDS services, health education, and other social services.
  • To manage the influx of people, they have expanded their food pantry hours and are looking for more volunteers to pack bags for families. 
  • People who want to volunteer can reach out to Bahir Eley at bahire@bebashi.org
  • You can also contact them at 215-769-3561 regarding volunteer opportunities.

PRICE GOUGING

What is price gouging?

  • If you see a store charging up an item, that’s called price gouging.
  • For example, a 24-case of water bottles is normally $2-4 dollars, but you see a store try to charge $1 per water bottle, which means that 24 case of water bottles is now $24. That is price gouging and it’s illegal.

What can you do about price gouging?

SCAMS

Medicare coronavirus scam

  • Scammers may use COVID-19 as an opportunity to steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud.
  • They might tell you they’ll send you a Coronavirus test, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number or personal information. 
  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for your Medicare number or other personal information.
  • Guard your Medicare card.
  • Check your Medicare claims summary forms for errors.
  • Medicare will never call you to ask for or check your Medicare number.
  • For more information on scams, click here.
  • Report senior scams with PCA at 215-765-9040.

Utilities scam

  • No utility company will come to your door unexpectedly to ask for your personal information.
  • Report senior scams with PCA at 215-765-9040.

COVID-19 vaccines, cures, air filters and testing scams

  • If you receive phone calls, emails, text messages or letters claiming to sell vaccines, test kits, cures, treatments, or air filter systems that remove COVID-19 from your home — it’s a scam. None of those items exist for coronavirus at this time.
  • To learn more about COVID-19 scams, click here.

“Person in need” scams

  • Due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers may pose as a distant relative, grandchild, or known loved-one out of the country to persuade you in sending money for help. Oftentimes these scammers will tell you not to ask questions and urge you to act fast.
  • According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stay calm in these situations and contact immediate family members to verify the identity of this caller.
  • Don’t send money unless you’re sure it’s them and don’t be afraid to hang up to call the relative they may be impersonating.

Social Security scams

  • While the Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed due to COVID-19, there won’t be a change to SSA benefits payments or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. 
  • Scammers might try to make you believe that you need to provide personal information or make a payment to maintain your regular SSA or SSI benefits payments.
  • ANY communication that notifies you that SSA will suspend or decrease benefits payments is a scam.
  • To report Social Security scams to the SSA Inspector General, click the link here.