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2020 News

Wolf Urges Residents to Wear Masks in Public; County Death Toll Rises to 11

April 3, 2020

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

Gov. Tom Wolf today called on state residents to wear masks when out in public as an added precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“I’m asking all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask anytime you leave your house,” Wolf said. He cautioned, however, that because masks aren’t foolproof in preventing disease spread, “it is critical that our first act is to ask ourselves if we really need to leave our house.”

Wolf’s admonishment came on a day when both Bucks County and the commonwealth saw substantial increases in new cases and deaths. Wolf masks

Three more county residents with COVID-19 died, all of them older men whose ages ranged from the mid-70s to the mid-90s. Eleven coronavirus-related deaths have now occurred in Bucks County.

Sixty-eight new cases were reported to the county health department, pushing the county’s total to 517. The number of hospitalized residents rose to 43, including 15 who are on ventilators and in critical condition.

Statewide, 1,404 new cases were reported, bringing Pennsylvania’s total to 8,420.

Of those patients, about 10 percent have required hospitalization, and 419 have been healthcare workers, said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. Twelve percent of the state’s licensed nursing homes have had at least one case.

The state’s death toll now stands at 102.

“We are beginning to see our first glimpses of the full force of this pandemic,” Wolf said at an afternoon news briefing. “Pennsylvania is continuing to climb to the peak cases. We’re adding more than 1,000 a day to our tallies.

“And we know we have community spread occurring in many different areas,” the governor said. “The only way we can cut the growth of this virus is to act as if we all have it.”

Levine urged citizens not to seek surgical or N-95 masks to wear out in public, saying those should be reserved for first responders and healthcare workers. A state-issued sheet of guidelines on masks can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/qrtz49d

“Remember, a mask is not a pass to go back to work or to go visit friends or to go out and socialize,” Levine said. “A mask is one more tool in our toolbox to protect ourselves against the spread of COVID-19.” Levine mask

Wolf further urged Pennsylvanians, as Easter and Passover approach, to avoid gatherings such as in-person religious services or meals with extended family. “Any type of gathering can serve as a Petri dish for COVID-19,” he said.

Despite the rising number of cases, Levine said, “the modeling is very positive that we will have adequate (medical) supplies to deal with this surge. But the key, as the governor has been emphasizing, is to prevent the surge from becoming high enough that it could overwhelm any healthcare system.”

Residents of 48 of Bucks County’s 54 municipalities have tested positive for the virus. A map showing those municipalities and charts of other coronavirus-related information is on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com/