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2020 News

Congregate Living Facilities Shoulder Much of COVID-19 Burden in Bucks

April 10, 2020

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

As Bucks County waits for sustained signs of a COVID-19 plateau, congregate living facilities have become the main focus of health officials’ attention.

Twenty-five facilities where people live in close quarters due to age, infirmity, incarceration or other circumstances have experienced outbreaks of coronavirus, Bucks County Health Director David Damsker said.

Damsker said an outbreak is defined as at least one positive case in a resident or staff member of a facility. “The likelihood is that if you have one, you are going to have others,” he said.

Among the facilities, he said, are the county-owned and operated Neshaminy Manor Nursing Home and the Bucks County Correctional Facility, where COVID-19 cases have occurred in both residents and staff.

Eighty-seven more cases of coronavirus were reported today in Bucks, raising the county’s total of confirmed cases to 1,107. Seventy-eight people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, 21 of them in critical condition and on ventilators.

Four more Bucks County residents with COVID-19 died, including a 79-year-old woman and three men ages 94, 77 and 60. Each had a history of underlying health conditions. Bucks County’s coronavirus death toll stands at 32.

The county prison, which has reduced its inmate population by roughly 20 percent over the past month, had two more inmates and four more employees test positive, for a total of five inmates and 11 employees. All are experiencing mild symptoms, Damsker said.

“We’re working with every single one of these congregate living facilities to minimize the loss of life and minimize the impact on staffing so that they can continue to care for the people who live there,” Damsker said.

He said more than 90 percent of Bucks County’s coronavirus-related deaths have been among people 60 and older, although nursing home deaths account for less than one-third of the fatalities here.

 

“The employees have continued going to work because they are essential but some of them may have unintentionally brought the disease in with them,” Damsker said, despite no-visitation policies that have been imposed in most congregate living facilities.

Damsker said county hospitals have not yet raised any concerns about shortages of beds, saying that there are still several dozen intensive care unit beds available among Bucks County’s six hospitals.

Statewide, 78 new COVID-19 deaths were reported today, bringing Pennsylvania’s death toll to 416. A total of 19,979 state residents have tested positive, with 1,751 new cases added today.

Residents of 51 of Bucks County’s 54 municipalities have tested positive for the virus, with Riegelsville Borough recording its first case todays. 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/

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