Despite COVD-19 hospitalizations declining, Geisinger Health asks for patience with vaccine rollout

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

DANVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Despite daily COVID-19 hospitalizations declining, Geisinger Health asks the community for patience as the healthcare system continues to “feel the strains of the pandemic,” as vaccinations of phase 1A continue in the Midstate.

While coronavirus cases remain at the same level Geisinger reported in Nov. 2020, the healthcare system is witnessing fewer positive tests, lower positivity rates and a reduction in COVID-related hospitalizations.

Geisinger says COVID-19 activity remains high in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, with an average of 200 positive tests per day. In Dec. 2020, an average of 400 or more positive tests was being reported every day.

In comparison, Geisinger hospitals saw as low as 185 patients hospitalized with the virus in Jan. 2021– a nearly 50% decrease from the Dec. 2020 report of over 350 COVID hospitalizations.

“We are still in a tenuous place, so even a small increase in hospitalizations can put us into a
troublesome capacity situation that jeopardizes care for COVID and non-COVID patients,” said
Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger’s president and chief executive officer. “Despite the
vaccination rollout underway, we can’t lose sight of the fact we’re still facing challenges in our
hospitals.”

Due to the high demand for COVID vaccinations, and the “uncertainty surrounding available vaccine supply,” Dr. Ryu says Geisinger Health locations are not accepting first-dose appointments at this time.

Going forward, Geisinger Health is working closely with the state Health Department and will open additional appointments as supply becomes available.

This week Geisinger provided its 50,000th COVID-19 vaccine, and two-thirds of Geisinger employees have received the vaccine.

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