The Northcentral region of Pennsylvania is no different from the rest of the country or the globe when it comes to exploding COVID cases, with numbers rising above the December 2020 peak.
“We have been expecting a surge from all of the holiday gatherings in late December (2021),” said Dr. Rutul Dalal, infectious disease expert with UPMC Susquehanna. “It’s likely that the number of cases will peak toward the end of this month, and we will hopefully be on the other side of it in March.”
UPMC hospitalizations have decreased slightly since December, according to Dalal, down to 65 across UPMC Susquehanna. In December, the medical center had as many as 78 COVID hospitalizations.”
“Omicron symptoms have been milder, but we are seeing an increased number of cases,” Dalal said. “Masking, social distancing, and vaccination (if eligible) are extremely important and will help you avoid severe COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalization.”
While hospitalizations from the new Omicron variant are not rising, staffing shortages continue to put a strain on the hospital system.
UPMC has not implemented a vaccine mandate for it’s employees. Dalal said that despite the staffing shortages the hospital is not diverting patients away.
“Every day processes are monitored, prioritized, and changed if needed to enhance our system of care,” Dalal said.
In Lycoming, 53% of the population are vaccinated. Since the start of the pandemic 468 people have died with COVID.