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COUNTY  OF  BUCKS

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Neshaminy Manor Center, 1282 Almshouse Road, Doylestown, PA 18901 - 215-345-3318
FIELD OFFICES

Bucks County Government Services Center, 7321 New Falls Road, Levittown, PA 19055 – 267-580-3510 Bucks County Government Services Center, 261 California Road, Suite #2, Quakertown, PA 18951 – 215-529-7000

County Commissioners                                                                                                                      Director

DIANE M. ELLIS-MARSEGLIA, LCSW, Chair                                                                                          DAVID C. DAMSKER, M.D., M.P.H.                ROBERT J HARVIE, JR., Vice-Chair 
GENE DIGIROLAMO, Commissioner

        6/26/20

GUIDANCE FOR BUCKS COUNTY SPORTS IN THE GREEN PHASE

While the Green phase of Governor Wolf’s reopening plan allows for the loosening of restrictions on sports activities, COVID-19 has not been eliminated, and most of the precautions and protocols from the “yellow” phase remain intact and we recommend that they be followed as much as possible.

All original “yellow” guidance below remains in place except that:

-Games, competitions, and tournaments are allowed

-Gatherings, including coaches, players, and spectators must be limited to no more than 250 people. It is advisable that each player be limited to no more than 1 family member attending the game/competition. For practice, no spectators should be present, if feasible. Social distancing of spectators is very important.

-Except as absolutely necessary, as part of the rules of the sport, avoidance of physical contact is advisable when possible. No handshakes, fist-bumps, or high-fives are allowed.

-Coaches and players should wear masks prior to, and after, practice. They are not required during games and practices. Please maintain a distance of 3 or more feet from others when not actively playing the game.

At a minimum, the Health Department suggests that all safety protocols include:

-Limiting the size of the practice or game to as few participants as necessary

-Procedures for temperature and symptom screening of all participants prior to beginning practice (symptoms screenings should include fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, runny nose, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, and diarrhea/abdominal pain.)

-Procedures for all participants to wash or sanitize their hands prior to, and after, practice

-Procedures for if a participant tests positive for COVID-19

-Requiring that no personal equipment be shared

-Requiring individual water bottles/beverages for all participants

-Procedures for quickly sanitizing anything used during practice that could be touched by multiple people

While following these critical guidelines allows for the minimization of the risk of spread of COVID-19, nothing can eliminate it completely.

David C. Damsker, MD, MPH Director

Bucks County Health Department

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             Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Requiring Universal Face Coverings

COVID-19 is a contagious disease that is rapidly spreading from person to person. People infected are capable of exposing others to COVID-19 even if their symptoms are mild, such as a cough, or even if they are asymptomatic. Additionally, exposure is possible by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching one's mouth, nose, or eyes. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Early symptoms may also include chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and runny nose. Older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk for serious illness.

The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the United States in January 2020. Since then, multiple areas of the United States have experienced "community spread" of COVID- 19, meaning that the illness is being transmitted through unknown contact, and not from contacts with known cases. On March 6, 2020, after the first cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were confirmed, the Governor issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency. Since that date, the number of positive cases has continued to rise, and community spread has continued in the Commonwealth as well. Case counts rapidly increased throughout the Commonwealth in March and April, 2020. As of July 1, 2020, every county in the Commonwealth has been affected, the number of cases is 87,242, and 6,687 individuals have died from COVID-19.

In order to slow the spread and protect the people of the Commonwealth, the Governor and lissued Orders on March 19, 2020, closing all Commonwealth businesses that are not life sustaining. See Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Regarding the Closure of All Businesses That Are Not Life Sustaining, as amended; Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Regarding the Closure of All Businesses That Are Not Life Sustaining, as amended. On April  I,  2020, the Governor and I issued Orders directing all individuals in Pennsylvania to stay at home. See Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Individuals to Stay at Home, as amended; Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health to Stay at Home, as amended.

In addition, I issued an Order on April 15, 2020, requiring mitigation measures to be applied at businesses that are permitted to engage in in-person operations, including a requirement that all customers wear masks while on premises of businesses that serve the public within a building or a defined area and directs businesses to deny entry to individuals not wearing masks, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such

goods. Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children under the age of 2 years per CDC guidance) are permitted to enter the premises and are not

required to provide documentation of such medical condition. See Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations.

Those mitigation efforts slowed the spread of the disease, protected our hospitals from being overwhelmed, and enabled our hospitals to care for our ill residents. Accordingly, in Orders on May 7, 2020, the Governor and I suspended restrictions for certain areas instituted in the orders on March 19, 2020, as amended, and April 1, 2020, as amended. See Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Limited Opening of Business, Lifting of Stay at Home Requirements, and Continued Aggressive Mitigation Efforts, as amended; Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for a Limited Opening of Businesses, Lifting of Stay Home Requirements and Continued Aggressive Mitigation Efforts, as amended.

These mitigation strategies, practiced by all persons in the Commonwealth, have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus, and have allowed the phased and considered reopening of the Commonwealth, see Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the Continued Reopening of the Commonwealth of May 27, 2020, as amended; Order of the Secretary for the Continued Reopening of the Commonwealth of May 27, 2020, as amended. Person-to-person spread does continue however, and with the reopening, the Commonwealth is beginning to see increases in new cases. Mindful of the need to slow this increase, in order to avoid the types of stringent Commonwealth-wide mitigation strategies that were discontinued a short time ago, and in order to avoid the resurgence that is overwhelming the health care systems and public health systems in other states, I am ordering that all persons in the Commonwealth wear face coverings in accordance with this Order. Face coverings can decrease the spread of respiratory droplets from people. See https:/ /www.cdc!.!ov/coronavirus/101 9-ncov/preven t-!.!etti rnr-si ck/clt)th­ face-cover- Q"uidance.html#re cent-studi es.   When  used  in  public  settings,  face  coverings will work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

COVID-19 is a threat to the public's health, for which the Secretary of Health may order general control measures, including, but not limited to, closure, isolation, and quarantine. This authority is granted to the Secretary of Health pursuant to Pennsylvania law.  See section 5 of the Disease Prevention and Control Law, 35 P.S. § 521.5; sections 2102(a) and 2106 of the Administrative Code of 1929, 71 P.S. §§ 532(a),  and 536;  and the Department of Health's regulations at 28 Pa. Code§§ 27.60-27.68 (relating to disease control measures; isolation; quarantine; movement of persons subject to isolation or quarantine; and release from isolation and quarantine). Particularly, the Department of Health has the authority to take any disease control measure appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease. See 35 P.S. § 521.5; 71 P.S. § 532(a), and 1403(a); 28 Pa. Code§ 27.60.

Accordingly, on this date, July 1, 2020, to protect the public from the spread of COVID- 19, I hereby order:

Section 1:        Face Coverings Defined

"Face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. For purposes of this order, a face covering includes a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or be improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for healthcare providers and first responders meet these requirements, such as N95 respirators, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.

Section 2:        Face Coverings Required

Except as provided in Section 3, individuals are required to wear face coverings if they are:

A.    outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household;

B.    in any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted;

C.    waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle;

D.   obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank; or

E.    engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person's own household or residence, are present wheri unable to physically distance.

Section 3:        Exceptions to Face Covering Requirement

A.    The following are exceptions to the face covering requirement in Section 2:

1.        Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, mental health condition, or disability;

11. Individuals for whom wearing a mask while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task as determined  by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

           111.       Individuals who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance; 1v.   Individuals who are under two                      years of age;

v.      Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

B.              Individuals are not required to show documentation that an exception applies.

Section 4:        Prior Orders

This Order is intended to be read in concert with my Order Relating to Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations, dated April 15, 2020, and with the Governor's and my Orders for the Continued Reopening of the Commonwealth, dated May 27, 2020.

Section 5:        Effective Date

This Order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

 
Rachel Levine, MD Secretary of Health

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Green Phase Baseball and Softball Requirements

The safety of our players and community is our top priority.  We have developed this plan based on guidance from the CDC, state, county & local government officials as well as Little League International.

Testing, Tracing & Disclosure Requirements

Players and Coaches should have a COVID-19 Symptom Screen and their temperature taken daily at home before practices/games and should NOT participate if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have a fever of 100.4°F plus. 

A COVID-19 Symptom Screen tests for the following:  fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and altered taste or smell.  The only exception would be a runny nose from allergies, which should improve with usage of allergy medications.

If a player or coach is symptomatic or has a fever of 100.4°F plus, the family should notify their team Manager immediately who must in-turn email the team AND Safety Officer, Dr. Jason Huffman, at <[email protected]>.  Team practices/games with remaining players and coaches may continue following disclosure.

If a player or coach is symptomatic or has a fever of 100.4°F, they should NOT participate until after 3 days with no fever AND 10 days since the fever appeared.

If a player or coach is positively diagnosed with COVID-19, the family should notify their team Manager immediately who must in-turn email the team AND Safety Officer, Dr. Jason Huffman, at <[email protected]>.  Team practices/games with remaining players and coaches may continue following disclosure.

If a player or coach is positively diagnosed with COVID-19, they should NOT participate until 10 days have passed since a positive test with no symptoms - OR – the individual has no symptoms AND receives two negative COVID-19 test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart.

If a player or coach is exposed to someone else who is positively diagnosed with COVID-19, the family should notify their team Manager immediately who must in-turn email the team AND Safety Officer, Dr. Jason Huffman, at <[email protected]>.  The player or coach should NOT participate until 10 days have passed following exposure.  Team practices/games with remaining players and coaches may continue following disclosure.

An example of “exposure” would be <6’ proximity to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 without appropriate face coverings by either individual inside an enclosed space for an extended period of time.  Games and practices would not be considered “exposure” due to the safety precautions in-place.

Safety Officer, Dr. Jason Huffman, <[email protected]> will communicate all confirmed cases to the Bucks County Department of Health and will seek any necessary guidance from the Department on a case-by-case basis.

 


Green Phase Restrictions

Baseball and softball are both considered to be “Limited-Contact” sports, but COVID-19 safety requires further measures be enforced to assure a safe return to play.  Specifically:

1.     All participants, players, coaches and observers, must continue to maintain 6’ physical distancing whenever possible. 

2.     Umpires will be positioned behind the pitcher’s mound (not behind home plate) to call pitches.

3.     Activities will be outside.  Dugout use will be limited as an access point to the field of play.

4.     Players normally in the dugouts will be seated in the stands or other designated open-air locations maintaining a minimum of 3’ distancing.  Players may bring their own chairs for personal use.

5.     Shared equipment is NOT permitted.  Players must bring their own helmets, bats, gloves & drinks.

6.     Shared team catcher’s equipment will disinfected by the coaches before being used by another player.  No Catcher’s equipment for Coach-Pitch/Transition or below. 

7.     Player’s personal equipment bags will be lined-up on fences 6’ apart.

8.     Balls will be cleaned using alcohol-based disinfectant by coaches after each practice/game.

9.     Coaches shall wear face coverings whenever applicable and possible per Little League guidelines.

10.  Players should wear face coverings when in close contact areas and in places where recommended social distancing is challenging.  Players will be permitted but not required to wear a face covering on the field.

11.  Observers should wear face coverings when unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household per PA Dept. of Health.

12.  No touch rule – players should refrain from high fives, handshakes, and other physical contact.

13.  Alcohol-based hand rub will be applied to the hands of all players before after and as necessary during practice.

14.  Spitting, eating seeds, chewing gum, and similar products will be banned from the field of play.

15.  15 minute gaps between practices will be scheduled to ensure sufficient time to sanitize equipment.

16.  Tee-Ball Field will be sub-divided with painted markers.  Players should remain in their areas.  A single family member is encouraged to stay on the field with each player to assist.

Violations

Violations of these rules will result in disciplinary action up to and including being prohibited from practicing or playing games for the entire season or beyond based on the seriousness of the infraction.

We are taking these safety precautions very seriously.  Violations should be reported directly to President, Jim O’Brien at  <[email protected]>

Content

COUNTY  OF    BUCKS

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Neshaminy Manor Center, 1282 Almshouse Road, Doylestown, PA 18901 - 215-345-3318
FIELD OFFICES
Bucks County Government Services Center, 7321 New Falls Road, Levittown, PA 19055 – 267-580-3510 Bucks County Government Services Center, 261 California Road, Suite #2, Quakertown, PA 18951 – 215-529-7000

County Commissioners                                                                                                                      Director

DIANE M. ELLIS-MARSEGLIA, LCSW, Chair                                                                                     DAVID C. DAMSKER, M.D., M.P.H.
ROBERT J HARVIE, JR., Vice-Chair
GENE DIGIROLAMO, Commissioner


         
5/28/20

GUIDANCE FOR OUTDOOR BUCKS COUNTY YOUTH SPORTS IN THE YELLOW PHASE

The Bucks County Health Department has been closely tracking the COVID-19 outbreak since the onset, and has excellent data showing the consistent downward trend of cases. The County will be moved to the “yellow” phase of the Governor’s reopening plan, effective Friday, June 5, 2020.

Organized competition and games will not be allowed until the “green” phase. However, given the current stable, and improving, situation in Bucks County, as well as the fact that “physical activity conducted as part of summer programming” is allowed under the “yellow” phase, the Health Department is advising that outdoor youth team practices can occur starting on June 5, only if critical safety guidelines and protocols are followed.

It is essential that all Bucks County Municipalities and School Districts be involved in the early decision-making process with teams, especially those desiring to utilize fields belonging to those entities. If at any point in time, a league or team is not following these safety guidelines, the Municipalities and/or School Districts also reserve the right to terminate any usage of their fields or equipment.

At a minimum, the Health Department suggests that all safety protocols include:

-Limiting the size of the practice to as few participants as possible (never exceeding 25)

-Procedures for temperature and symptom screening of all participants prior to beginning practice (symptoms screenings should include fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, runny nose, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, and diarrhea/abdominal pain.)

-Procedures for all participants to wash or sanitize their hands prior to, and after, practice

-Procedures for if a participant tests positive for COVID-19

-Requiring that no personal equipment be shared

-Coaches wearing face coverings

-Social distancing at all times, with no physical contact, including no handshakes, fist-bumps, or high-fives

-Eliminating spitting or chewing gum by participants

-Requiring individual water bottles/beverages for all participants

-Procedures for quickly sanitizing anything used during practice that could be touched by multiple people

-Guidelines to keep any spectators away from the practice area

-Recommending not carpooling multiple participants together (using masks, if carpooling is necessary)

While following these critical guidelines allows for the minimization of the risk of spread of COVID-19, nothing can eliminate it completely. However, it will permit children to safely begin to transition back into much needed healthy physical activity, as well as prepare them for the new rules that will be in place for games when allowed under the green phase.


David C. Damsker, MD, MPH Director

Bucks County Health Department

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