A dozen new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania were traced to recent Jersey Shore “beach house gatherings,” the Bucks County Department of Health announced this weekend.
The county Health Department reported 33 new coronavirus cases Saturday, including 11 that can be traced back to a New Jersey resident “who attended multiple house gatherings at the shore during the past two weeks.” Another Bucks County resident who became infected from the same New Jersey source was announced Friday, according to a news release.
Bucks County is among 10 Pennsylvania counties to recently enter the “yellow phase” of reopening, during which many businesses remain closed and large gatherings are still prohibited.
David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department, said in the release he expects additional new cases as the disease spreads to these individuals’ family members.
“This is exactly why we can’t let our guard down now, even if it feels `safe’ to be at the beach,” Damsker said in a statement. “One unlucky exposure can lead to a large cascade of cases down the line. We want everyone to enjoy the warmer weather and have fun, but let’s keep in mind that COVID is still circulating in the community at baseline levels.”
A Bucks County spokesman, Larry R. King, declined to provide additional information, saying the department relies on voluntary cooperation and reporting.
The department released information on these cases to “caution people against letting down their guard and just getting back to business as usual.”
“Obviously it’s still out there, and if you have too many people in one place and somebody’s got the virus, it’s still able to be spread,” he said.
Nearly 5,000 Bucks County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, according the Department of Health.
Spokeswomen for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health did not immediately respond to requests for more information, including how many New Jerseyans may have become contracted the virus at these same gatherings.
As of Sunday, there are 164,164 confirmed cases in New Jersey since the beginning of March and 12,176 residents have died amid the outbreak. This includes 79 new deaths and 426 new cases reported in the past 24 hours.
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