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2020 News

COVID Cases Drop to Pre-July 4 Levels as Fall Sports Debate Heats Up

August 24, 2020

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

Bucks County’s daily COVID-19 cases dropped last week to an average of 23 per day, the lowest level since before July 4, the county health department reported.

Over the past four days, the number dipped even lower, to roughly 21 cases per day, with no new coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations remaining low.

The positive medical news came on the heels of Friday afternoon’s announcement by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association that it would continue to sponsor fall sports, including football, for thousands of high school students across the state.

The PIAA’s vote clashed with a “strong recommendation” issued Aug. 6 by the Wolf administration that school and youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1. Gov. Tom Wolf reiterated that view after the PIAA’s Friday announcement, adding that individual school districts would have the final say.

Bucks County Health Department Director David Damsker said that the county’s decreasing COVID numbers, coupled with strong health and safety plans in its school districts, make fall sports a viable option here.

“Given the improving COVID situation in Bucks County, the PIAA’s recent determination to allow athletics on a local basis makes for a good fit here,” Damsker said. “All of our districts have worked extremely hard to make a safe environment for their athletes, and we fully support any decision for the continued pursuit of student athletics.”

For instance, Damsker said, “We currently have no known active cases in any of the Quakertown School District municipalities. While that won’t be the case every day, it’s very encouraging to see these kinds of trends.”

What Bucks County’s public and private schools ultimately will decide is far from clear.

Holy Ghost Prep in Bensalem today began practices for its various fall sports teams, which do not include football. The Colonial League, which included Palisades School District in Upper Bucks, delayed the start of its football schedule to Sept. 25, when soccer, field hockey and volleyball also will begin.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Catholic League, which includes Archbishop Wood High School, announced late today it was scuttling its fall sports season entirely.

The Suburban One League, which includes most of the school districts in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, will hold a meeting Friday in which each school will announce whether it plans to proceed with fall sports. The Cheltenham School District has already announced its intention to forego fall sports this year.

Of the 83 new COVID-19 cases reported in Bucks from Friday through today, seven were delayed reports that no longer are considered to be infectious.

Twenty-two of the new cases were infected by household members, 18 were attributed to community spread, 13 were infected out of state, seven were infected at work, two are residents of long-term care facilities, two are healthcare workers and 19 were unable to be complete a full interview immediately.

Bucks County now has had 7,160 residents test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. A total of 518 deaths have been attributed to the virus, including 411 long-term care residents, while 6,369 are confirmed to have recovered.

The median age of those who have been infected in Bucks is 52, while the median age of death is 82.

Eleven Bucks County coronavirus patients are hospitalized, three of whom are in critical condition and 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 active infections by municipality can be found here.

Unless there are significant new developments, the next Bucks County COVID update will be posted on Thursday.

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