Mask Up, Bucks

DOYLESTOWN >> Bucks County officials is calling for families, friends, roommates and others under the same roof to step up their COVID-19 precautions, as household spread accounted for nearly half of the county’s new infections last week.

The county’s new case count for Sept. 27 through Oct. 3 declined to 228, an average of about 33 cases per day and 13 fewer than the previous week. Infections spread within members of the same household were responsible for at least 45 percent of those infections, the highest percentage to date during the pandemic.

“We are seeing more and more of our cases coming directly from friends and family members, especially at parties and social gatherings,” said Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker. “Community spread is going down, which means if we can tighten up our actions when we’re around the people we know, we can really drop the number in Bucks County.”

Community spread – cases in which investigation fails to identify the source of the infection – accounted for 14 percent of last week’s new cases here, the health department reported.

Hospitalizations remained low, with 12 county residents in hospitals with coronavirus. For the first time since March, no patients were listed as critical and no ventilators were needed throughout the week.

Unfortunately, five new deaths were reported last week, four of whom had underlying health conditions and none of whom lived in long-term care facilities. A total of 10 deaths were reported in September.

Last week’s decedents were three women ages 62, 71 and 93; and two men ages 27 and 74. The 27-year-old was described as having had “severe” underlying health conditions.

Twenty-six of last week’s Bucks County cases were delayed reports no longer considered to be infectious, the health department reported.

Of the 228 cases in Bucks last week, 103 were traced to household contacts and 32 to community spread. Fourteen resulted from out-of-state travel, 12 were infected at non-healthcare workplaces, 11 are residents or workers at long-term care facilities, eight are healthcare workers, and 48 were unable to complete a full interview immediately.

“Many schools have had cases brought in by students and staff who got infected through non-school exposures,” Damsker said. “But we have yet to see any secondary spread from those cases within schools because of the protocols in place. Nothing will be 100 percent effective all of the time, but the guidelines have worked very well thus far, and we anticipate they will continue to do so if followed appropriately.”

Through Saturday, October 3 Bucks County has had 8,457 residents test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. A total of 530 deaths have been attributed to the virus, including 413 long-term care residents, while 7,561 are confirmed to have recovered.

The median age of those who have been infected in Bucks is 50, while the median age of death is 84.

Statistics, charts and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.

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