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Philadelphia Negotiating to Open Hahnemann; Montco Test Site Criteria; Philly Remote Learning
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/24/20 8:50 pm | updated: 03/24/20 8:50 pm
 
Philadelphia city officials are in negotiations with the owner of the shuttered Hahnemann Hospital to possibly reopen the building. The Center City hospital slowly closed last summer after declaring bankruptcy. When it was running, the hospital could accommodate 400-500 beds, which would be valuable to have available if the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak continues to infect and hospitalize Philadelphians. At this point the negotiations are having a rough time taking off. Mayor Kenney accused the owner, Joel Freeman, of "jacking up monthly prices" and "trying to make a buck" from the pandemic. Freeman said that he thought he made "a very reasonable, heartfelt offer to the City of Philadelphia."

The deal was $60/bed/day or $910,000 per month. As a comparison to market rate, Freeman said that California is paying $2.6 million per month to rent a 366 bed hospital. That's $237/bed/day. "He is looking at this as a business transaction rather than providing an imminent and important need for our city and our residents," Philadelphia City Managing Director Brian Abernathy said. "The owner, Mr. Freedman, was difficult to work with at times when he was the owner of the hospital, and he is still difficult to work with as the owner of the shuttered hospital."

"What we're proposing is a hugely, deeply, discounted rate compared to other known comparable situations," spokesperson Sam Singer said. "We want to be of assistance to the city and to the community." Freeman also said, "I believe everyone has the right purpose at heart." The building will still need work to bring it back to a functional hospital after a deal is worked out. The city is eyeing it not as an acute care facility but as a quarantine site.

Montgomery County officials say that they are now accepting a wider range of symptoms at the drive through testing site in Ambler. According to Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, "Loss of smell or taste; also including gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Whether or not they have fever, (they) will be welcomed for testing." You should still pre-register before going to the Community Based Testing Site located at Temple University's Amble Campus. You can pre-register here: Montgomery County Testing Site Pre-Resgistration. Note if you do not meet the criteria, you can be denied a test. This is the full list of updated criteria:

- Persons of any age and with symptoms of sudden illness (such as fever OR cough OR shortness of breath OR loss of smell/taste including gastrointestinal  symptoms such as nausea OR vomiting OR diarrhea) with or without fever

- First responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS, or dispatcher) AND concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR symptoms of any sudden illness with or without fever

- Healthcare worker providing direct patient care AND concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR symptoms of any sudden illness with or without fever

- Anyone with known or suspected direct contact to someone with COVID-19 

- Anyone who has been recommended by their doctor to get tested

The Philadelphia School District is working on plans for educating students if the shutdown goes past the current April 6 end date. Currently, optional K-12 Learning Guides are available online and in-person at all grab-and-go meal sites. These are for personal use and can be used as a tool to keep children engaged. The district is also working on providing devices to over half the students in the city who do not have access to the internet. "We continue to develop a remote learning experience for all students, along with a plan to provide student devices and those devices are meant to ensure equity. So that every child in the City of Philadelphia, or at least in the school district, will have access to all of the learning opportunities that are online," Superintendent William Hite said. For more information go to: https://www.philasd.org

 
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