EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Geisinger Health System has confirmed its first cases of monkeypox, a spokesperson said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Geisinger released a statement stating:
“Geisinger has confirmed its first cases of monkeypox. We have been preparing for the eventual transmission of this disease in our community for several months and immediately initiated standard safety protocols once the diagnosis was made in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH) guidelines and infection control best practices. Our facilities remain safe for patients, visitors, and employees.“
While the media release from Geisinger Health System did not specify the amount of cases “due to patient privacy concerns“, an email sent to Geisinger employees obtained by Eyewitness News stated they confirmed their first three cases reported in their health system.
The email also read that it was important to note that monkeypox and COVID are not the same. Monkeypox is a rare virus that is generally spread through close contact and symptoms and include a rash and fever.
The email sent to Geisinger employees confirming the cases, acknowledged “how well the staff handled the cases, due to months of preparation, and how quickly Geisinger staff deployed the safety protocols put in place by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH).”
Geisinger also added that while the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency, the CDC still believes the overall health risk to the public remains low. But it is important to take extra precautions and follow the recommended safety guidelines including masking, social distancing, and washing your hands.
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“Currently, 107 Pennsylvanians have been identified by the department as orthopox/monkeypox positive cases. The department does not provide case counts at the county level or hospital level, nor does not confirm individual cases in order to protect patient confidentiality,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a statement to WBRE.