Twenty-eight new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Pike County in the past two weeks, reflecting an unsettling upward trend.
Seventeen of these cases were reported in the past week, and 10 of these cases -- more than one-third -- were reported just since Wednesday, according to numbers posted by the state health department.
On Oct. 2, Delaware Valley schools superintendent John Bell reported another case of the coronavirus in the district, bringing the district’s total to 5 since the start of the school year, and cancelled Friday night’s football game. The four previously reported cases included two in Delaware Valley Elementary School, one in Delaware Valley Middle School, and one in the high school.
“The individual last attended school on Friday, September 25, 2020,” Bell said in a letter posted on Oct. 2.
“Unfortunately, Delaware Valley will not be allowing spectators for tonight’s football game due to the Federal Courts appeal initiating a return to limiting the capacity of 250 for outdoor events,” Bell said in a Tweet on Oct. 2. “Only players, coaches, and game workers will be permitted.” He said the game could be watched live at NFHS Network: nfhsnetwork.com.
Bell urged members of the school community to wear masks and practice social distancing.
On Sept. 17, there were 561 total cases in Pike County. As of Oct. 2 there are 589 total cases. “Pike County is at risk of an outbreak,” said Covid ActNow, a team of technologists, epidemiologists, public health experts, and public policy leaders that tracks the virus.
Orange County outbreak
The rising trend in Pike comes as neighboring Orange County is experiencing a severe outbreak: 18 percent of those tested this week in Orange County were reported to be positive. It is by far the most serious current outbreak in one of the few states that has managed to get the virus well under control. Statewide, New York has a positivity rate of 1.3 percent, or 1.1 without the hotspots included.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Orange County this week to urge the Orthodox Jewish community, which was hardest-hit, to wear masks and practice social distancing as mandated by state law. He said he would enlist State Troopers to enforce the law if needed.
Cuomo said 27 percent of the positive tests reported on Sunday came from ten zip codes where just 3 percent of the state’s population lives. In the 10950 area of Orange County, 16 percent of the 73 people tested were positive for the virus.
He said the outbreak was the result of local governments failing to enforce the law.
“They’re not doing it with enough diligence. Period,” said Cuomo. “It is not up to them to say, ‘Well we’re not going to enforce the mask ordinance, we’re going to offer a mask.’ It’s too late in the game to do that.”
He said he has about 5,000 State Troopers as his disposal to enforce the mask law if needed.
“If they don’t want to enforce the law, I will enforce the law,” Cuomo said. “I would need the local governments to assign a number of their police to the State Police for a task force, and then I will enforce it with a task force. And I will ticket people who don’t wear masks, because that will save lives at this point. We know how to keep the infection rate down, we’re just not doing it in these clusters, and that’s a failure of the local government.”
Today also brought the shocking news that President Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, as well as others in their orbit, had tested positive, bringing home the fact there is no corner of the country safe from the coronavirus. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace told his viewers today, “Wear the damn mask.”