College Students Contribute To Coronavirus Spike, Bucks Health Officials Say

A map of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bucks County as of Sept 14, 2020.

The Bucks County Health Department is calling on college students to take more caution to prevent spreading the coronavirus.

The message comes as Bucks saw another increase in the spread of the virus Friday through Monday. Health officials reported an average of 36 cases per day.

Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker says the county would have fewer cases if college students acted appropriately.

“If not for social gatherings and college students becoming infected while socializing, Bucks County would have very few infections,” Damsker said. “People need to continue to take precautions in social settings by wearing masks and distancing themselves from others. If everyone did that, our numbers would be very low.”

This follows a trend seen in northern parts of the state. Before September, 19 to 24-year-olds accounted for single digit percentages of cases.

Now, in North Central PA where Penn State University’s main campus is located, they make up 69 percent of cases this month.

Damsker’s call for precautions echoes the sentiment of PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

“What happens on campus has a direct impact on what happens off campus, and if the virus spreads among students, it will invariably spread to other places in the community.”

Meantime, eight people are in the hospital with COVID-19 in Bucks County. This is a slight reversal of a trend from earlier this month. The number of hospitalizations had dropped to three as of September 7.

A total of 7,811 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Bucks as of Monday evening. The number of full recoveries sits at 6,903.

Of the 524 deaths in the county, 413 were residents of longterm care facilities. The most recent death was a 49-year-old woman last Tuesday with underlying health conditions.