Jersey Shore ‘beach house gatherings’ behind new coronavirus cluster

“Beach house gatherings” on the Jersey Shore are linked to nearly a dozen new coronavirus cases in one Pennsylvania county.

Officials with the Bucks County Department of Health over the weekend announced that 11 of the county’s 33 newly identified cases of COVID-19 are connected to a New Jersey resident who “attended multiple house gatherings at the Shore during the past two weeks,” per a news release. 

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One Bucks County case reported Friday has also been traced to the New Jersey resident, while “there are likely to be additional infections among family members of the new cases,” officials said.

“This is exactly why we can’t let our guard down now, even if it feels ‘safe’ to be at the beach,” said Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department, in a statement. “One unlucky exposure can lead to a large cascade of cases down the line. We want everyone to enjoy the warmer weather and have fun, but let’s keep in mind that COVID is still circulating in the community at baseline levels.”

Details on when and exactly where on the Shore the gatherings occurred were not provided.

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Damsker urged residents to continue to take precautions as the state gradually reopens, such as wearing a face mask or covering while seeing people who do not live in the same household.

Nearly 5,000 Bucks County residents have tested positive for the novel virus, per officials. To date, Pennsylvania has seen more than 75,000 cases of COVID-19, according to official estimates.