DOYLESTOWN >> The rate of new COVID-19 cases continued to flatten last week in Bucks County, while vaccine providers administered waning supplies of doses almost as quickly as they were received.
The seven-day average of new cases dropped slightly in Bucks, from 197 per day to 192 per day, the lowest rate since Nov. 11. An additional 1,489 positive test results came in from Feb. 7 to 13, for a pandemic total of 42,986.
The improving climate in Bucks County aligned with encouraging news across the nation, where average daily new coronavirus cases in the U.S. dipped below 100,000 for the first time since Nov. 4. The seven-day rolling average of new infections was above 200,000 for much of December, and reached 250,000 in January.
Nonetheless, “cases are more than two-and-a-half-fold times what we saw over the summer,” Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Sunday, Feb. 14. “It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they’re coming down from an extraordinary high place.”
Bucks County’s test positivity rate also fell below 10 percent for the first time in several weeks, dropping from 10.6 percent to 9.6 percent last week.
The county ended the week with a total of 35,526 people partially vaccinated, while another 16,851 people had been fully vaccinated with first and second doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
It was, however, a disappointing week for vaccine supplies. Bucks County received only 6,725 doses from the state Department of Health, about 29 percent less than the average amount received in previous weeks. Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department, said he does not expect a significant increase in the weekly state allotments until sometime next month.
Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam on Feb. 12 signaled that Pennsylvania will begin to send larger amounts of vaccine to providers that are able to immunize people at the quickest pace. County health departments and larger hospitals are likely to receive greater percentages of the allotments while primary care physicians and other small providers get less.
“I understand how frustrating the current vaccine process can seem, and we have heard from many Pennsylvanians that are struggling to schedule an appointment,” Beam said. “As there is very limited COVID-19 vaccine supply compared to demand, every possible effort must be made so that the vaccine received in the commonwealth is effectively administered.”
The Bucks County Health Department is now the leading recipient of vaccine in the county, having received 15,750 of the county’s 82,525 doses over the past nine weeks. The county this week opened vaccine clinics at the three campuses of Bucks County Community College, where 3,000 first doses of Moderna vaccine are being administered through Saturday, Feb. 20 to residents age 65 and older, and to those with health conditions that qualify them for the 1A phase of the vaccine rollout.
Pre-registration for vaccinations continues to be offered on the county’s Coronavirus Vaccine Information page. Approximately 200,000 Bucks County residents and business owners have already pre-registered.
Bucks County has been outperforming most of Pennsylvania, and the nation, in its efficiency at administering its vaccine. Through last week, the county had administered 84 percent of the doses it has received from the state, well above the U.S. average of 77 percent and the statewide average of 68 percent, according to the CDC.
A total of 69,228 total vaccine doses had been administered in the county through last week.
Weekly COVID deaths remained in double digits, as the state reported the loss of 29 Bucks County residents last week who were infected with the virus, an increase of 10 deaths from the previous week.
A total of 1,085 Bucks County deaths have been blamed on COVID. Of those, 121 happened in January, and 31 so far in February.
Hospitalizations continued to decline, with 93 COVID patients in Bucks County hospitals on Saturday, 24 of them in intensive care, and 14 of those on ventilators. Thirty-six percent of the county’s adult ICU beds were available, as well as 32 percent of adult medical surgical beds.
To see an interactive map showing Bucks County’s COVID testing locations, please click here.
To see an interactive map showing Bucks County cases reported in the past 30 days, please click here.
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.