By The Associated Press undefined
A dozen new coronavirus cases in the Philadelphia area have been traced to someone who attended gatherings at beach houses at the Jersey Shore, according to the health department in suburban Bucks County.
The department said 11 cases reported Saturday were linked to a New Jersey resident who was at gatherings in the past two weeks. One case reported Friday also was traced to the same person.
"There are likely to be additional infections among family members of the new cases," said Dr. David Damsker, the health director in Bucks County.
He did not disclose further details, including exactly where the gatherings were,
"This is exactly why we can't let our guard down now, even if it feels safe to be at the beach," Damsker said. "One unlucky exposure can lead to a large cascade of cases down the line."
It is important to wear face coverings when attending small gatherings of people who are not members of the same household, Damsker said.
Nearly 5,000 residents of Bucks County, which borders Philadelphia to the south and New Jersey to the east, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
MASKS ON TRANSIT
Passengers on mass transit in the Philadelphia region Monday once again had to don masks on the system serving 4 million people in five counties to help contain the coronavirus.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority reinstated a policy requiring riders to put on masks or other face coverings on buses, trains and trolleys as the region transitions to the middle "yellow" phase of Pennsylvania's plan to reopen as the pandemic eases.
SEPTA had eased the requirement to a recommendation in April after police removed a rider who tried to board a bus without a mask. Employees will now engage riders to remind them about the requirement, SEPTA said.
"Riders have made it clear that requiring everyone to wear face coverings would help make them feel safe returning to transit," said SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards.
Customers can use any type of cloth material that covers the mouth and nose, SEPTA said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday reported 10 additional deaths linked to COVID-19, raising the statewide total to 5,953.
State health officials also reported that 351 more people have tested positive.
Since early March, infections have been confirmed in about 76,000 people in Pennsylvania.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the confirmed case count because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
___ This story has been corrected to show that Bucks County borders Philadelphia to the south, not to the north.