COVID-19 took 56 Bucks County lives last week, but new cases are dropping.

December is now the third deadliest month for the virus with more than 116 deaths as of the weekend. The death toll has reached 854 as of noon Wednesday.

Meantime, the rate of new coronavirus cases has dropped to a seven day average of about 380, down from more than 500 earlier this month.

Bucks Director of Health Dr. David Damsker says deaths and hospitalizations should drop soon as well.

“Our cases have now clearly stabilized, and even dropped, from the peak of the surge,” said Damsker. “Usually deaths and hospitalizations follow the same trend soon after.”

Damsker added the recent surge started before Thanksgiving, but holiday gatherings made a bad situation worse.

County officials are asking residents to not gather for Christmas as well.

Instead, County Commissioners’ Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia said people should look to the future.

“The best thing we can do for one another is to not spend time together. This is a year that we are going to be telling children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren about, and we should be able to point to what we did to make this a little bit easier for the doctors and the nurses, as well as for our neighbors.”