COVID-19 continues plaguing Pennsylvania healthcare system

Local News

(WTAJ) — Coronavirus cases continue to plague healthcare system across the Commonwealth. Cases are beyond the numbers we saw in the spring, Governor Wolf said ICU hospital beds could run out by mid-December.

GEISINGER

The Geisinger Lewistown hospital is near capacity as Mifflin County is now a hotspot for the virus.

Dr. Jaewon Ryu, President and CEO of Geisinger, said one-quarter of the deaths due to COVID-19 infection happened in November.

“They’re on a rate of growth that frankly is very concerning,” he said.

He added that the root cause of the virus’s spread is what we do in our communities.

“Me, you, anybody else out there in the communities that we serve. We play a huge role. We are the driver of what causes the spread and what can also stop the spread,” he said.

Dr. Ryu said between 10% and 20% of COVID-19 patients are from nursing homes.

Geisinger’s percent positivity rate for COVID-19 testing is between 23% and 25%.

“That means that close to one in four or roughly one in four people are testing positive. Think about that when you go into the grocery stores or walking around,” Ryu said.

But it’s not too late to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

“Mask, distancing, avoid the gatherings especially when they’re indoors. COVID is out there in our communities. It’s everywhere, and we all have to be careful, and that’s what’s gonna lead up to the success that gets us on the other side of this,” Ryu said.

Dr. Ryu said one of the next steps is distributing the vaccines, which he said could take six months or more to have a lasting impact on containing the virus.

MOUNT NITTANY

At Mount Nittany Medical Center, there are currently 35 COVID-19 positive inpatients aged 33-91. There have been 18 positive patients admitted this month.

“Similar to what hospitals are experiencing regionally, statewide and nationwide, we continue to see rising numbers in cases and in hospitalizations. As we fight the pandemic, providing care for this many patients continues to be a challenge for the health system and for our staff,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nirmal Joshi said.

Mount Nittany will continue to operate under their COVID surge capacity plan. They will be rescheduling elective surgical procedures that require an admission during period of high COVID-19 patient volume, according to Dr. Joshi.

UPMC

Across the entire UPMC system within the country, they are treating 1,073 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19. Out of those patients, 242 are from the Altoona region and Maryland.

Here is the breakdown:

  • 392 are in Southwestern PA
  • 106 are in Northcentral PA
  • 190 are in Southcentral PA
  • 143 are in Northwestern PA
  • 242 are in Altoona region/Maryland (UPMC Altoona, UPMC Bedford, UPMC Somerset, and UPMC Western Maryland).

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