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2020 News

Bucks County COVID-19 Deaths Reach 14; Four Cases Confirmed at Prison

April 4, 2020

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

Three more deaths were reported today among Bucks County men who had COVID-19, including the two youngest victims to date.

Each of the men, including one in his late 70s and two in their early 50s, had serious, underlying health conditions, said Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department.

One of the victims was identified early today by the Tullytown Fire Company as Assistant Chief Rick Johnson, 50, a longtime volunteer firefighter and former chief of the company. His was the first death among Bucks County first responders from the coronavirus pandemic. Rick Johnson

“Rick has been with the company for many, many years and has held many positions in the fire company” the Tullytown Fire Company’s Facebook page said early today. “He was truly a great friend to everyone and most of all family to most of us.”

After Johnson’s death became public, the Bucks County Commissioners ordered flags lowered to half-staff outside county offices indefinitely in tribute to all of the county’s coronavirus victims.

While several first responders have tested positive for coronavirus, Damsker said an increasing number of healthcare workers have also fallen ill. In addition, three officers and one prisoner at the Bucks County Correctional Facility have also tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two days, he said.

“It’s not surprising that we are having cases among workers at healthcare facilities and close-quarters facilities like prisons,” Damsker said. “We expected that, since they are among the people who have to leave their homes each day to do this essential work. We hope that it will begin to decrease with the universal masking recommendations that have been made by the governor. “

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

Damsker said the three prison officers were in isolation at their homes with mild symptoms. The offender who tested positive was a recent admission who never was placed among the general population. He had arrived with mild symptoms and was immediately isolated, Damsker said, limiting his exposure to others.

The county received 64 new cases today, increasing the number of confirmed cases to 580. Twenty-five patients are hospitalized, 11 of them in critical condition and on ventilators.

Statewide, there have now been more than 10,000 positive cases in 64 counties, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said today, including 1,597 new cases. At least 136 Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 have died.

There have been 489 positive test results among healthcare workers, Levine said.

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/