Philly’s coronavirus response

Philly opens two new quarantine sites for first responders with coronavirus

The city still won’t release the total numbers of frontlines workers’ with the virus.

Police have closed Walnut Street in Philadelphia where a Holiday Inn Express will be a city quarantine site. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Police have closed Walnut Street in Philadelphia where a Holiday Inn Express will be a city quarantine site. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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Philadelphia has opened two new sites to quarantine first responders who’ve tested positive for coronavirus: one at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Center City, the other at the Marriott Springhill Suites by the Philadelphia International Airport.

That accounts for over 400 isolation rooms for first responders, including the first quarantine site that opened last month at the Holiday Inn in Center City.

Managing Directory Brian Abernathy said there’s still “significant capacity” at the sites, which housed 46 people as of Wednesday.

Police, firefighters, doctors and other health professionals may isolate at the two new sites, while the Holiday Inn location also allows people experiencing homelessness.

Abernathy said the city hadn’t made a decision about whether to release more details about the first responders staying at the new quarantine site.

Unlike some other major U.S. cities, Philadelphia officials for weeks declined to release raw numbers of police officers and other frontline city workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 — a persistent source of scrutiny around governmental transparency.

The Inquirer reported Tuesday that 81 firefighters and paramedics had tested positive, while at least 51 police officers on the 6,500-member force also had the virus, according to their sources.

The administration has said it is withholding numbers to protect workers’ privacy. Last week, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said announcing official numbers could also increase call-outs over fears of officers reporting for work.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with more information.

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

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