Bucks Officials Declare “Community Spread” with 10 New Coronavirus Cases Identified
Bucks County identified 10 more coronavirus cases bringing the total to 34, declaring community spread officials said Saturday.
One of the new patients was hospitalized briefly but now is resting at home. At least three of the new cases were the apparent result of community spread, meaning no known source of infection has been identified. Five appear to have been infected out of state or out of the country, and two are still being investigated, said Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department.
“Bucks County is now declaring community spread,” Damsker said, since the requisite number of cases for making that declaration has been reached. Some contact tracing will continue, he said, but it will focus on people in law enforcement, schools, jails, nursing homes, hospitals, and other institutions where employees would have wide-reaching contact with the public.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced Saturday the commonwealth’s second death from coronavirus: an adult from Allegheny County. The first death, a 55-year-old man from Northampton County, was announced on Wednesday by Gov. Wolf.
Levine said individuals have tested positive in 28 Pennsylvania counties to date. The statewide total stood tonight at just under 400 confirmed cases.
In Bucks County, 12 municipalities have had at least one resident counted among the 34 coronavirus cases, all in the central or lower portions of the county. A map showing those municipalities on the county’s data portal will continue to be updated as new cases arise. The data portal currently is averaging about 3,000 visits per hour.
The county’s Consumer Protection Department staff continues to receive steady Consumer Hotline calls and emails from residents and business, many centering on the question of what is and isn’t a “life-sustaining” business. Gov. Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close, though he has pushed back the compliance deadline to 8 a.m. Monday before enforcement begins.
Business owners unsure of their status or who wish to apply for an exemption waiver should visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development by clicking here. This website includes a section of “Life-Sustaining Business Frequently Asked Questions” and other valuable business resources.
“On the whole, we have found that businesses in Bucks County are doing the right thing by their customers, employees and their own family members,” said Consumer Protection Director Michael Bannon. “In this unprecedented time it is difficult for any of us to navigate the expectations placed on us.
“We appreciate those that have chosen to play it safe over the risk of exposing others and themselves to the COVID-19 virus,” Bannon said.