DOYLESTOWN >> Bucks County’s new COVID-19 cases dropped last week to the lowest level since late November, just before the post-Thanksgiving spike began.
The county ended the week with a seven-day average of 331 new cases per day, the lowest since Nov. 30, when the seven-day average was 332 cases per day.
State records show that 2,314 new cases were reported in Bucks County from Dec. 20 to 26, down 13 percent from last week and a decrease of 31 percent from the record high of two weeks ago.
Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker urged the public to avoid New Year’s revelry this year despite the encouraging numbers.
“Things are certainly looking better over the past two weeks,” Damsker said. “However, we could undermine some of the progress if people get together at parties for New Year’s later this week. Let’s be smart.”
Numbers of new infections also fell across the state. Pennsylvania’s seven-day average of 7,704 per day was the state’s lowest rate since Dec. 2.
State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the positive trend will not prompt the state to lift restrictions on indoor dining and other activities prior to the Jan. 4 expiration date.
“It’s critically important to continue our mitigation efforts and really not get together in gatherings on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day,” Levine said. “We want to make sure the current plateau and even decrease that we are seeing continues in the new year.”
A total of 29,039 COVID infections had been reported in Bucks County through Saturday, while the statewide total reached 610,344.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health last week reported the deaths of 38 more Bucks County residents infected with COVID. At least 14 were residents of long-term care facilities, and all but one – a 52-year-old woman – were age 65 or older.
The county has recorded 154 COVID deaths in December. This month’s partial total is exceeded only by the months of April (280 deaths) and May (253 deaths).
A total of 876 Bucks County COVID deaths have been reported by the state during the pandemic.
The percentage of positive test results also continued to decrease in Bucks and across Pennsylvania. Both the county and the state had test positivity rates of 15.1 percent. That was down from 16.4 percent a week ago in Bucks and 15.8 percent statewide.
A total of 167 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in Bucks County, 23 of them on ventilators, and the county continues to have ample hospital capacity for treating them and other patients. State officials reported that 31 percent of the county’s adult ICU beds, 34 percent of its medical surgical beds and 71 percent of its ventilators remain available.
The county commissioners continue to urge the public to download the free COVID Alert PA app, which uses Bluetooth technology to let a person know that they have been exposed to COVID-19 without compromising the identity or location of either the person using the app, or of the person to whom they may have been exposed.
Statistics, charts, links to state health department data and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.