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Bucks County News

Wolf Restrictions Prompt Calls for Compliance, Federal Leadership

December 11, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larry R. King, 215-348-6413, lrking@buckscounty.org

The Bucks County Commissioners, while expressing acceptance of Gov. Tom Wolf’s new COVID mitigation measures, called on federal officials for more help in leading the fight against coronavirus and assisting people and businesses the pandemic has harmed.

“I am sure the state would not do this unless they believe circumstances are dire, and they are making the best decision they can for an entire state,” said County Commissioners’ Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “I am looking forward to a federal response with national standards so that every state, and every county, can be aligned with a greater plan.

“Rather than think of this as being ‘imposed,’ I suggest thinking of it as doing our share to contribute and cooperate for the greater good,” Marseglia said.

Wolf on Thursday announced stricter statewide standards over the next three weeks, eliminating indoor dining at restaurants, prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 50, limiting businesses serving the public to 50 percent of their maximum capacity, closing indoor gyms and fitness centers, halting extracurricular school activities, and closing indoor entertainment businesses such as theaters, museums, casinos and bowling alleys.

The temporary measures were announced during an unprecedented statewide surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths. Calling the restrictions “a bridge to a better future,” Wolf said they would help decrease the spread of COVID, keep hospitals and healthcare workers from being overwhelmed, and provide a safer holiday season as limited supplies of vaccines begin to arrive.

“Each of the last two days we have reported the highest number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic,” state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said late Thursday. “In the past week, we have reported close to 1,100 new deaths from COVID-19 across Pennsylvania.”

Thirty-six COVID deaths have been reported this week by the Bucks County Health Department. Last week, 38 COVID deaths were reported countywide.

November’s total of 83 reported deaths made it the third-deadliest month of the pandemic here. A total of 766 Bucks residents infected with COVID-19 have died during the pandemic, according to state numbers.

“I certainly understand the governor felt he needed to do something to stem the high tide of cases,” said Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker. “However, I do feel very badly for the affected businesses, and was hoping we could have been successful reducing the cases prior to implementing any additional restrictions. In the meantime, we need to continue wearing masks and limiting any unnecessary gatherings from now through the holidays.”

In addition to the death toll, Bucks County’s case numbers also remain high. New infections have averaged 478 per day for the past seven days. The state, meanwhile, set a record high on Thursday with 12,745 new cases reported.

“We have consistently told people to mask up and follow the protocols,” Commissioner Bob Harvie said. “It’s obvious that while most people followed that advice, there are many who ignored it for whatever reason.

“The new mitigation measures will hopefully help stop the spread so that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed,” Harvie said. “We know restaurants will suffer the most. We encourage Bucks Countians to help our restaurants as much as they can through takeout and delivery orders.”

Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo called on the federal government to pass stimulus legislation to assist those who are suffering economically because of COVID and its restrictions.

“During this critically important time we need our elected officials in Washington – Democrats and Republicans alike – to come up with a stimulus package that will help every American in need and lift our business community through this public health crisis,” said Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo.

“We all need to support our heroes: the healthcare workers, people on the front lines caring for others and our emergency service providers,” DiGirolamo said, “and the way we can do that is by continuing to wear masks, staying safe and following the social distancing guidelines.”

A total of 5,852 COVID patients were hospitalized statewide, 1,191 in intensive care. In Bucks, 82 were hospitalized with coronavirus, six of them on ventilators. County hospitals had 17 percent of their adult ICU beds, 34 percent of their adult medical surgical beds and 78 percent of their ventilators available.

To see an interactive map showing Bucks County’s testing locations, please click here.

To see an interactive map showing Bucks County’s active cases by municipality, please click here.  

Statistics, charts, links to state health department data and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.

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