PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Twelve people in Bucks County who attended Memorial Day parties at the Jersey Shore have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Bucks County Health Department discovered this cluster of COVID-19 cases through contact tracing. One positive case led to the 11 others.
“Every time we get a positive case in a Bucks County resident, we contact everybody,” Dr. David C. Damsker, Director of the Bucks County Health Department said.
Dr. Damsker explained how contact tracing uncovered the link of 12 people who recently tested positive were all together over the Memorial Day weekend in Cape May County.
“Because that weekend was kind of rainy, the majority of exposures that occurred at these gatherings were indoors and not outdoors so that should make people feel a little better,” he said.
Dr. Damsker says other people probably were not exposed at the beach or on the boardwalk — outside is generally considered safer.
This newly identified group was together inside, where COVID-19 is known to spread more easily through close personal contact.
“A lot of people don’t have cough, fever, shortness of breath and we discovered that over the last several months. You could have something as small as having a loss or altered of taste or smell or having a headache or having just some mild fatigue,” Dr. Damsker said.
He says all of the cases connected to the shore parties have been mild.
“Memorial Day was two weeks ago now. We shouldn’t be seeing any additional cases from that party. We’re hoping that because we’re 14 days out from the party that anyone who was sick has already showed symptoms and now we’re focusing on potential household contacts of the original cases,” he said.
It’s unclear what, if any, safety precautions the group took, but social distancing, masks and regular hand washing are the best way to guard against the virus which is still circulating.
“So, let’s live our lives in this new normal now and take precautions,” Dr. Damsker said.
He says the precautions are important because the coronavirus might not be so dangerous for younger people.
But it can be dangerous to people they spread it to, like the elderly or people with other medical issues.