DOYLESTOWN >> The Bucks County Health Department reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on May 29, the largest daily total in a week, as 18 Western Pennsylvania counties moved into the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan.
Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department, said increased reports of new infections are not unusual on Fridays, as a number of private testing labs have delivered larger than usual batches of results on Fridays and Mondays.
Damsker said the increased numbers were largely tied to long-term care facilities and infections from household contacts, with very little pure community spread. "Regardless of today's slight increase, we expect to see the overall trend downward to continue," he said.
The spike followed May 28's report of only 19 new infections, the lowest one-day total since March 26. The number has not exceeded 40 since last Friday, when it hit 42.
Of the new cases, 12 were infections from household contacts, 11 were residents or workers at long-term care facilities, three were spread in healthcare settings, three were pure community spread, and two were tied to non-healthcare workplaces. Nine of the newly infected patients were not able to be interviewed.
Five deaths also were reported, all occurring within the past six days. Ranging in age from 63 to 98, all but one were long-term care residents, and all had underlying health conditions.
Ninety Bucks County coronavirus patients remain hospitalized, 20 in critical condition and on ventilators. Of the 4,754 county residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, 451 have died and 1,556 are confirmed to have recovered.
In addition to the newly green counties that were announced last Friday by Gov. Wolf and that moved into that status, another 16 counties were told by the governor today that they can move to green status next Friday. That is when Bucks and all other Pennsylvania counties that are still in shut-down red status are expected to be able to move to partially open yellow status.
The counties going green next Friday are Allegheny, which includes Pittsburgh, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.
More than half of Pennsylvania’s counties are expected to be in green status by June 5, which is currently the least restrictive category. Even under green, however, gatherings of more than 250 are prohibited, restaurants and bars can only operate at 50 percent occupancy, personal care services such as hair salons and barbershops must operate at 50 percent occupancy and by appointment only, and indoor recreation, health and wellness centers, spas, casinos, theaters, shopping malls and indoor entertainment must operate at 50 percent occupancy.
Statistics, charts and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.