The Bucks County Health Department last week reported 12 deaths from COVID-19 as the number of new infections continued to spike, setting new daily and weekly records.
Hospitalizations increased at a more modest rate as 22 county residents were being treated in hospitals for coronavirus at the end of the week, two of them on ventilators.
Deaths were the most recorded in a week since the last week of May, when 27 deaths were reported. The 12 individuals died from Oct. 30 through last Friday, but all were reported to the county health department during the week of Nov. 8-14. All but two – a 34-year-old man and a 74-year-old man – were over the age of 80, including three in their 90s. All had underlying health conditions, and all but two lived in long-term care facilities.
“Older Bucks Countians are clearly at the highest risk of serious illness from COVID,” said Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker. “Let’s protect them as best we can, and make sure we aren’t sick and wear our masks when we’re around them. We know how to stop the spread of this virus. Let’s work together to be smarter.”
The county had a record 1,676 cases reported from Nov. 8-14 – an average of 239 cases per day and more than double the previous week’s total. The seven-day positivity rate rose to 9.5 percent for Nov. 6-12 in Bucks, three times the rate of a month ago.
“The numbers are much higher, and almost every case is from unmasked exposures to family, friends and coworkers. We need to tighten up mask usage in all situations. We’ve seen that they work, and work very well,” said Damsker. “The transmission risk is extremely low when both the infected person and the exposed person are masked – so low that a few states don’t even consider it to be an exposure.”
Bucks County is in the “substantial” level of transmission, as defined by the state Department of Health.
Numbers were also up across Pennsylvania and the nation.
State officials announced Friday that Pennsylvania averaged 4,892 cases per day last week, almost double the average of the previous seven days. Statewide hospitalizations are up more than 180 percent from a month ago, with 2,440 COVID patients being treated, 531 of them in intensive care.
They also updated travel recommendations to add Virginia to the list of states recommended for domestic travelers returning from to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. Additionally, the state added two neighboring states – Delaware and Maryland – to a list of bordering states in which non-essential travel is highly discouraged.
Nationally, more than 1 million new COVID cases were reported last week for the first time, as the country averages 150,000 new infections per day. More than 70,000 patients are hospitalized, overwhelming hospitals in some states, and total U.S. deaths from the pandemic are expected to reach 250,000 by early December.
Bucks County has now had 12,241 residents test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic through Saturday. A total of 551 deaths have been attributed to the virus, including 427 long-term care residents, while more than 9,300 are confirmed to have recovered. The median age of those who have been infected in Bucks is 47, while the median age of death is 84. Click here for more information.