Omicron, unvaccinated dominate cases at Lancaster General Health

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The pandemic is constantly evolving and critical factors change by the day. Dr. Ripchinski from Lancaster General Health says at a time when there’s a lot we don’t know, he does know one thing.

“We’re running basically 90% Omicron. So, it is here and definitely present by the sampling that we’re doing,” Dr. Michael Ripchinkski, chief medical officer at Lancaster General Health said.  

Ripchinski says out of LGH’s patients hospitalized with COVID, about three-quarters are unvaccinated, and out of the rest, just 2-3% are vaccinated and boosted.

“The booster does reinforce that protection. That’s why people that are boosted are getting mild illnesses and as you heard less than 5% of the patients admitted that end up at LGH are here,” Dr. Ripchinski said.

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Dr. Ripchinski also says he’s starting to see people who are vaccinated but not boosted, having worse symptoms, as their immunity begins to wane.

“I would not be surprised if someone got more sick. They don’t necessarily need to be hospitalized and be vaccinated but if they say I’m laid up for a week, that is not an uncommon thing,” Dr. Ripchinski.

He also addressed the changing CDC guidance on how long people need to isolate or quarantine if they’ve been infected or exposed.

“If someone gets sick, it’s five days, plus day zero being the first day of symptoms plus five days. Keep them home and that will be the best way to keep coworkers safe and business running. Get them masked up and try to isolate them from others,” Dr. Ripchinski said.  

Ripchinski says at this point, “If you have congestion, runny nose, headache, scratchy throat, hoarseness, you probably have COVID so think about getting a test or isolating.”

And while you’re at it, ”Say thank you to a health team member or family member that is helping in this pandemic. Just be grateful for the work that they’re doing.”  

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