Bucks County’s COVID-19 case count increased by an average of five per day last week, but the numbers do not approach the April-like increases seen elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Hospitalizations remain lower than at any time since the March outset of the pandemic in Bucks County.
The county’s new case numbers for Oct. 11-17 totaled 265, an average of almost 38 per day and 36 more than the previous week’s total of 229.
Monday marked the 14th consecutive day in which Pennsylvania’s case counts increased by more than 1,000 per day. New cases have averaged 1,238 over the past week, a 7 percent increase preceded by a 16 percent increase the week before.
“The fall resurgence is here,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, who encouraged residents to renew efforts to wear masks, maintain social distancing and practice sanitation measures that have proven effective in slowing the virus. “We didn’t exactly stop COVID in its tracks last spring, but we did pretty well. We can do this again to stop the fall resurgence.”
Pennsylvania Department of Health Director Dr. Rachel Levine said last week that college-age students are no longer the primary cause of the increasing numbers. Spikes are also being seen among people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
The leading cause of new cases in Bucks County continues to be household spread and social gatherings with friends and family, a category which has notched up steadily in recent weeks and now accounts for 48 percent of new infections over the past week.
Levine also announced that the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the state has nearly doubled since last month. However, only five Bucks County residents were hospitalized as of Saturday, none of them in critical condition or on ventilators.
“Our hospitalizations remain low, as our local hospitals are doing a fantastic job treating the sicker patients and keeping stays as short as possible,” said Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker. “Because of that, it’s a better situation as compared to March and April, and we need to continue focusing on keeping the virus out of places like long-term care facilities.”
The county’s seven-day positivity rate increased slightly to 3.1 percent of those tested, compared to 2.8 percent the previous week. That compares favorably to the statewide positivity rate, which increased to 4.3 percent last week from 3.9 percent the week before.
Bucks County reported two COVID deaths last week, the third and fourth residents to die in October. Both were women, ages 69 and 92, both with underlying health conditions.
Twenty-four of last week’s Bucks County cases were delayed reports no longer considered to be infectious.
Of the 265 cases in Bucks last week, 128 were traced to household contacts and 50 to community spread. Twenty-seven resulted from out-of-state travel, 13 were spread at non-healthcare workplaces, eight are healthcare workers, three are residents or workers at long-term care facilities, and 36 were unable to complete a full interview immediately.
Through Saturday, Bucks County has had 8,955 residents test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. A total of 534 deaths have been attributed to the virus, including 416 long-term care residents, while 7,993 are confirmed to have recovered.
The median age of those who have been infected in Bucks is 49, while the median age of death is 84.
Additionally, the state Department of Health updated its travel recommendations to remove Texas from the list of states recommended for domestic travelers returning from to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.