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2020 News

Initial Vaccines Headed to PA Hospitals as COVID Cases Continue to Rise

December 15, 2020

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

Initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive throughout Pennsylvania over the next week, with healthcare workers first in line to receive them, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced Monday.

A total of 111,150 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be in by Monday, Dec. 21, Levine said. Philadelphia will receive an allotment of 13,650 doses, while 87 hospitals in 66 other counties will share the additional 97,500 doses.

Those 87 hospitals include three in Bucks County: Doylestown Hospital, Lower Bucks Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center. The amount each would receive was not specified. Two hospitals in Allegheny and Washington Counties Monday received 975 doses each.

Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker said he expected all of Bucks County’s hospitals to receive vaccine in subsequent shipments.

“This is a pivotal development in the fight against COVID-19, in Pennsylvania and the nation,” Levine said. “This limited supply of vaccine signals the start of the process to end COVID-19’s devastating impacts on every community in the commonwealth.”

Levine and other experts emphasized that the vaccine will not be available to the general public for a number of months. The first phase of the vaccination plan will focus on healthcare workers, EMS first responders and residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

News of the vaccine’s rollout came amid persistently high numbers of new COVID infections and deaths throughout the nation, the state and Bucks County.

A record 3,366 new infections were reported in Bucks County last week, the state health department said. As of Saturday, the county’s seven-day average of new cases stood at 481 per day.

The county reported 45 additional COVID deaths last week, including some from earlier in the month and two from late November. State health records now show 93 COVID deaths in Bucks during November and 60 for the first 12 days of December.

The deaths reported last week involved people ranging in age from 51 to 100, with seven in their 90s, nine in their 80s, 19 in their 70s, five in their 60s and four in their 50s. Twenty-four were residents of long-term care facilities.

The county’s test positivity rate increased to 17.7 percent, up from 15.3 percent the previous week. It remains higher than the statewide positivity rate of 16.2 percent, which increased from 14.4 percent the week before.

Eighty-four Bucks County COVID patients were hospitalized as of Saturday, eight of them on ventilators. Ample bed space and ventilators remained available: 24 percent of the county’s adult ICU beds, 35 percent of its adult medical surgical beds, and 70 percent of its ventilators.

Most non-judicial Bucks County offices remain open to the public on an appointment-only basis through Jan. 4, 2021. Public officials continue to urge the public to refrain from out-of-state travel and social gatherings, and to wear masks indoors and when close to others outside.

A total of 254 students enrolled in Bucks County schools and 39 school staff tested positive for COVID last week, the county health department reported. About 22 percent of the students and 64 percent of the staff members were involved with fulltime in-person school attendance, while the rest are involved in hybrid or fully virtual instruction.

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.