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2020 News

Wolf Announces Partial Openings in 24 Counties; Bucks Deaths Continue

May 1, 2020

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

Residents of 24 Pennsylvania counties will be allowed less-restricted lifestyles and livelihoods starting May 8, as Gov. Tom Wolf announced that COVID-19 shutdown orders are gradually being lifted.

Many companies in those counties, mostly in Northwest and North Central Pennsylvania, will be allowed to resume in-person retail businesses, while residents are permitted to move freely outside of their homes, albeit with masks and continued social distancing. Child-care facilities are also allowed to resume operation.

The counties’ shift from “red” shutdown mode into the so-called “yellow” phase of Wolf’s three-tiered reopening plan continues a slow movement toward unshuttering Pennsylvania’s economy. Construction resumed this week statewide, as did the use of golf courses, marinas, and private campgrounds. Wolf reopen

Working from home is still encouraged wherever possible, restaurants remain restricted to take-out service, large gatherings are taboo and close-contact businesses such as casinos, bowling alleys, movie theaters, hair and nail salons, and fitness centers, will still be closed during the yellow phase.  

The chosen counties are Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango and Warren. They were selected in part for having relatively few numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Wolf stressed that the counties will be required to conduct robust testing and contact tracing, and that they could be shut down again if they have an unacceptable spike in new coronavirus infections under the eased restrictions.

Southeast Pennsylvania, meanwhile, continues to struggle with comparatively high numbers of deaths and infections that weigh disproportionately on elderly residents and long-term care facilities.

The Bucks County Health Department today announced 13 more deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19, 11 of them residents of long-term care facilities. The county’s coronavirus death toll stands at 230, all but 50 of them residents of long-term care facilities.

The fatalities announced today were seven women and six men ranging in age from 93 to 68. All had underlying health issues.

The health department also announced 101 new positive cases, 50 of whom were residents or workers at long-term care facilities. Only seven were determined to have resulted from community spread.

Of the county’s 3,169 total positive cases during the pandemic, 861 have been long-term care residents, 444 have been employees of those facilities, and 470 have resulted from community spread. A total of 792 patients have been confirmed to have recovered.

Two hundred forty COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in Bucks County, 28 of them in critical condition on ventilators.  

Statistics, charts and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.  An interactive Bucks County map showing numbers of infections by municipality can be found here.

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