Coronavirus: Two Cases Identified In PA As Central Bucks Schools Close

Governor Tom Wolf speaks at a press conference Friday morning about confirmed coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine stands behind him. Photo via Office of Governor Tom Wolf.

Governor Tom Wolf has confirmed there are two presumed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania Friday morning. The announcement comes as five schools in the Central Bucks School Districts will remain closed Friday to prevent a potential spread of COVID-19.

The governor’s office stated both cases have been identified in adults. One is from Wayne County and recently traveled to a country where coronavirus has been identified. The other is from Delaware County and recently returned from an area in the U.S. with coronavirus.

While there are no confirmed cases in Bucks County of the coronavirus, there exists a possibility. The school district put out an alert on its website early Friday morning.

“Late last evening CBSD was made aware that individuals within the district were exposed to a confirmed case of Coronavirus,” the statement said. “After consulting with local and state health authorities, and out of an abundance of caution, CBSD has decided to close 5 schools today, March 6, 2020. Butler, CB South, Titus, Tohickon and Tamanend will be closed today for students, teachers and staff. Additional information will be posted on CBSD.org.”

Superintendent John J. Kopicki, Ed.D., released a letter around 6:30 a.m. which included more detail.

Dr. David Damsker, Director of the Bucks County Health Department, informed Kopicki Thursday evening about a recent private gathering at a home in Bucks. While it was unknown at the time, one of the attendees is now confirmed to have coronavirus.

Several children and staff were at the event. Each of them attends or works at one of the five schools closed today.

A statement from the Bucks County Government laid out its plans to check for coronavirus related to the gathering.

“The Bucks County Department of Health today will continue its work to contact those who attended private gathering, and to check them for any symptoms of illness. Any found to have symptoms such as the fever, cough or shortness of breath often associated with coronavirus will be tested.”

Kopicki’s statement from earlier this morning clarified there are no cases of COVID-19 in Bucks County.

“It is important to reiterate that there are no known or reported cases of coronavirus in Central Bucks School District, Bucks County or in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Out of an abundance of caution, I have decided to close the above schools Friday, March 6, 2020 to perform deep cleaning of all impacted facilities.”

However, the statement, released several hours ago, now contains some outdated information. Governor Wolf’s Office confirmed the cases in Wayne and Delaware County at a press conference later the same morning.

Wolf then went on to sign a COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration.

“It’s imperative that we continue to respond quickly and accurately to the coronavirus and its introduction into Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “First and foremost, we want all Pennsylvanians to be safe and remain healthy and follow the practical advice of the Department of Health on ways to protect yourself from any virus and that’s by washing hands, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and staying home if you are sick.

There are currently 233 cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths in the United States. Worldwide, there are just above 100,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths. The virus’ incubation period is between two and fourteen days.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health will post continual updates on its website here.

Authorities recommend the following actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoiding close contact (within six feet) with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth
  • Staying home when sick
  • Covering one’s coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces with household cleaning sprays or wipes