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COVID-19 cases on the rise

Geisinger is reporting a 50 percent increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations over the last week and a half.

DANVILLE, Pa. — COVID-19 cases have been on the rise over the last month across Pennsylvania. Officials at Geisinger see the disappointing trend first-hand.

"The numbers where we are today have doubled from what we've been seeing a week ago, and we are continuing to see those cases increase on a daily basis," said Dr. Alison Brodginski, Geisinger's northeast director of infectious disease.

Dr. Brodginski says there has been a 50 percent increase in hospitalizations throughout the Geisinger system over the last week and a half. Dr. Brodginski believes several factors are causing this, including COVID-19 fatigue.

"As much as I can empathize and understand that we all want this to be over, it's important to remember that we're not out of the woods yet," Dr. Brodginski said.

Dr. Brodginski says cases are increasing as more people relax their personal responsibilities. Although thousands of people are getting vaccinated daily, we need more than 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated for there to be herd immunity to the virus.

"We will get there, but we're not there yet, so it's really important that even if you're vaccinated, you're still following those risk-mitigation strategies," Dr. Brodginski said.

Now that seasonal allergies are coming back strong, it can be hard to differentiate between that and COVID-19. Dr. Brodginski says with allergies, you typically do not have a fever or shortness of breath.

"I think a lot of us who suffer from seasonal allergies know that our symptoms tend to get better when we take our allergy medication, but that would not be true for those with underlying COVID-19," Dr. Brodginski said.

Officials at Geisinger say the big takeaway is to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are able to.