A post-Christmas season increase in COVID-19 cases is underway in Bucks County and across Pennsylvania.
The state Department of Health last week reported 2,710 new COVID infections in Bucks County, a 12 percent increase from the previous week’s total. The seven-day average stood at 380 cases per day as of Saturday.
State totals increased by 58,945 new cases, a 14 percent hike over the previous week. Pennsylvania reported on Friday more than 10,000 new daily infections for the first time since mid-December, a trend that could continue this week, said state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
“We think this is an increase from the holidays,” Levine said of the numbers, reported two weeks after Christmas and a week after New Year’s.
In response to the increases, Bucks County announced last week that it is partnering with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to offer free COVID testing for the next three weeks at three Bucks County Community College sites. The testing will operate at the locations seven days a week through Jan. 31, with the capacity to perform up to 350 tests per day at each site.
Locations and hours are: Newtown Campus, 275 Swamp Road, Newtown (Gymnasium), from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Lower Bucks Campus, 1304 Veterans Highway, Bristol, Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, from 2 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Upper Bucks Campus, 1 Hillendale Road, Perkasie (Blooming Glen Road entrance), from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Residents do not need a doctor’s prescription, but should be mindful of their symptoms before deciding to seek testing. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and fatigue. Less common symptoms that may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhea or skin rash.
Participants are asked to bring face masks and cell phones to the test sites. Insurance information will be collected at the sites, but medical insurance is not required for the testing.
The county reported 31 deaths last week, nine of them residents of long-term care facilities, for a pandemic total of 940 deaths.
The state reported that Bucks County’s test positivity rate decreased last week from 15.4 percent to 14.7 percent.
The county continues to rank fourth in Pennsylvania with 9,404 partial vaccinations administered here. Bucks also ranks fourth with 1,023 full vaccinations completed here. More information and statistics about the vaccine program are available on the county’s new vaccine information portal.
A total of 189 patients are hospitalized in Bucks County with COVID, 26 of them on ventilators. Hospital capacity for treating them and other patients remains good, with 35 percent of adult ICU beds and 32 percent of medical surgical beds available.
The county commissioners continue to urge the public to download the free COVID Alert PA app, which uses Bluetooth technology to let a person know that they have been exposed to COVID-19 without compromising the identity or location of either the person using the app, or of the person to whom they may have been exposed.
Click here for more information on COVID-19 in Bucks County.