COVID-19 cases in Bucks County have gone up in recent weeks, but the increase has not approached the alarming, hospital-crowding spikes seen in states where vaccination rates are especially low. New cases are significantly fewer than this time last year, the COVID death rate continues to fall, and last week ended with just eight COVID-infected patients in Bucks County’s hospitals.
“The current surge in COVID cases around the nation is among those who are unvaccinated,” said the Bucks County Commissioners in a joint statement. “While being vaccinated is not a guarantee against getting COVID, almost all of the COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations around the nation are among those not vaccinated.”
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than half of all Americans are vaccinated against COVID. In Bucks County, almost four out of every five people eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose.
Last week, Bucks County reported an average of 32 new COVID cases per day, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC. That represents an increase of 10 cases per day over the previous week, and more than triple the rate of early July, when daily cases numbered in single digits.
Still, it’s far fewer than the same time last year, when Bucks averaged 46 cases per day, let alone earlier this year, when daily cases were averaging more than 400 per day. In 2020, COVID numbers increased significantly in the weeks following the July 4 holiday, but dropped again to pre-holiday levels in August.
Six COVID-related deaths have been reported so far in July. A total of 19 deaths were recorded in June – half the number of June 2020.
National numbers have proven more troubling, with talk of renewed COVID restrictions – from masking orders to shutdowns – roiling everything from stock prices to discussions of fall school procedures. Philadelphia health officials last week said they “strongly recommend” that everyone, even the fully vaccinated, wear masks again inside public places.
County Commissioner Bob Harvie stressed that Bucks will not be recommending masking for vaccinated individuals.
“Bucks County has no plans to urge fully vaccinated people to wear masks,” he said. “Part of the motivation for people to get vaccinated has been eliminating the need to wear masks in order to be safe from the worst effects of the coronavirus or to keep from spreading it to others.
“The best protection from getting or spreading COVID is clear. Get yourselves vaccinated and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do so as well. The vaccine works, and has been shown to be effective against all known variations of the coronavirus, including the much-discussed delta variant. Bucks County and its health department have been doing everything we can to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
The county continues to offer free vaccinations to anyone age 12 and over from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem and Warwick Square in Jamison. For a full list of vaccine providers in Bucks County and locations where COVID vaccines are being offered, click here.