DOYLESTOWN >> Bucks County’s new COVID-19 infections remained low over the past few days, but the numbers nonetheless were boosted by residents exposed to the coronavirus while venturing outside of Pennsylvania.
“We’re not seeing a lot of new cases here at all,” said Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker. “We’re just seeing additional cases from travel.”
The county health department reported 61 new infections – an average of about 20 per day – over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 30, July 1 and 2. Close to half of those cases resulted from out-of-state contacts.
Another seven cases during the three-day period were delayed reports no longer considered infectious.
Of the three-day total of 68 cases, 27 were from out-of-state contacts, 12 were attributed to community spread, 10 are residents or workers at long-term care facilities, eight were from household contacts, three are healthcare workers, three were infected at other workplaces, and five were not able to be interviewed immediately.
“Over the past week, we have seen that sometimes a third of our cases, and sometimes closer to half of our cases, are from travel,” Damsker said, pointing to COVID infections that have been brought back to Bucks from vacations and house gatherings in places such as Florida, Arizona, Myrtle Beach, and the Jersey Shore.
“At least for the next few weeks, I think people need to take a second look at their travel plans,” Damsker said, “but if they go, to make sure to take extra precautions.”
Gov. Tom Wolf on July 2 recommended that Pennsylvanians who travel to one of 15 states where coronavirus is surging should self-quarantine at home for two weeks upon their return. The states identified by the Wolf administration are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
The recommendation came a day after Wolf approved a Pennsylvania Department of Health order that masks be required in all settings, outdoor and indoor, where social distancing requirements cannot be met. Bucky
While all Pennsylvania counties are now in the green phase of Wolf’s reopening plan, Philadelphia has held off on allowing indoor dining to resume, and Allegheny County has shut down indoor dining and bars for a week to try to slow a spike in cases there.
Pennsylvania officials on July 2 announced 832 new cases statewide, the largest statewide increase in more than three weeks.
Damsker and the Bucks County Commissioners urged the public during a news briefing on July 2 to refrain from unsafe behaviors over the July 4 weekend, such as congregating in bars, restaurants and other social settings without wearing masks, and trying to limit their proximity to other people.
“Everybody enjoy the Fourth of July holiday and just remember, as Dr. Damsker says all the time, that alcohol and COVID do not mix well,” said Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo. “To our young people and our adults, please be careful. Wear masks. You have to remember that the virus is still out there, and we want to make sure that everybody in Bucks County is safe and sound.”
Bucks County now has had 5,460 residents test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. A total of 510 deaths have been attributed to the virus, including 408 long-term care residents, while 3,849 are confirmed to have recovered.
The median age of those who have been infected in Bucks is 56, while the median age of death is 82.
A total of 64 Bucks County patients remain hospitalized, nine of them in critical condition and on ventilators.
Statistics, charts and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.