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Deaths at long-term care sites keep Bucks County covid-19 fatalities at record levels

The Bucks County Health Department on Monday announced the deaths of 20 more people who had tested positive for covid-19.

That equaled the total of 20 fatalities on April 29, which until Monday had been the county’s single-highest daily death report.

All of the decedents had underlying health issues, and all but two were residents of long-term care facilities. Sixteen were over age 70, one was a 64-year-old woman, and three were men under 60 – ages 58, 50 and 42.

The county also reported 110 new positive cases on Monday. Forty-seven were residents or workers at long-term care facilities, while 12 were attributed to community spread.

On Saturday, the county had reported 100 new cases and two deaths, while Sunday’s totals were 50 new cases and five deaths. All of the deceased were residents of long-term care facilities.

Last week was the county’s deadliest of the pandemic, with 92 deaths reported, up from 61 the week before.

Elderly residents of long-term care facilities continue to suffer disproportionately from covid-19. Of the county’s 258 deaths, 81 percent have been residents of long-term care facilities. The median age of those who have died is 82.

Forty-one percent of the county’s 3,429 confirmed coronavirus cases have occurred among residents or staff at long-term care facilities, compared to 15 percent community spread since the pandemic’s inception.

The Bucks County Commissioners on Monday released a letter sent last week to Gov. Tom Wolf, urging flexibility in the reduced covid-19 infection rate he will require before the county can reopen.

“(W)e are submitting this letter as one of appeal as we endeavor to decrease the specific reliance on the incidence rate of covid-19, per capita, as a major contributing factor to reopening,” said the letter, dated April 29. It requests a dialogue on the subject with Wolf, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine or a member of Wolf’s staff as soon as possible.

Wolf has set out a three-tiered strategy for Pennsylvania regions and counties to reopen, in which they move from a shut-down “red” status to a partially open “yellow” stage and, ultimately, to an unfettered “green” status.

Among the standards he seeks for such counties, Wolf has said, is a consistently decreasing number of new positive cases, with a countywide goal of averaging less than 50 cases per 100,000 persons over the course of 14 days.

For Bucks County, that would amount to 320 cases over a two-week span, or an average of 23 per day. The county has not had that few cases since March 26, when there were 18, and has exceeded 100 new cases per day on more than half of the days over the past three weeks.

Strict adherence to the governor’s standard, the letter said, “will have a detrimental effect on our effort to maintain Bucks County’s infrastructure of business, tourism and community support. In our efforts to increase access to testing in the community and long-term care facilities, we will see an uptick in cases, possibly in those who are mildly symptomatic, asymptomatic, or untested who were sick in the recent past but continue to test positive. That could easily drive up the numbers well beyond the threshold without actually increasing community risk, and permanently keep Bucks County in the ‘red zone.’”

The letter noted that Bucks County, which has conducted aggressive contact tracing of new cases, has reduced community spread to no more than 10 percent of those cases in recent weeks, and urged Wolf  “to see and analyze the kinds of positives we are getting, more so than simply the numbers themselves.”

Levine on Monday again rejected the idea of separating a county’s nursing home covid-19 statistics from the rest of the county’s numbers.

“We’re not going to separate nursing home cases from other cases in a county,” Levine said. “We are all interconnected. One section of a community, such as a nursing home, or personal care home, impacts the general community. And the community impacts that facility. The staff go back and forth….It’s very important to include those type of facilities, among other congregate settings, in the total counts for a county.”

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  • How many untested 80+ year olds who die from respiratory disease, or regular flu, or pneumonia are chalked up to “probable” Covid? Yes follow the money. Also, the people who assign cause of death to these people are not immune to the Covid hysteria, nor are they immune to anti-trumpism. Even when frail octogenarians who are Covid positive die…did they die a OF Covid or did they die WITH Covid?

  • This article makes no mention of the Long Term Care facilities fraudulently labeling a death as ” caused by the Covid -19 when it is not. Who is doing the labeling? Follow the money. If a death is labeled as by the Covid-19 Virus this makes the numbers look worse and the state gets more money from the feds.

    Another consideration where do the older generation of people live? Long Term car facilities and Nursing homes. Wouldn’t it make since that these types of facilities might have a high rate than say the general population or a hospital.? I am afraid our country is becoming a bunch od lemmings. FOLLOW the MONEY.

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