DANVILLE, Pa. — As restrictions ease and life returns to normal for many of us, doctors at Geisinger are seeing a disturbing trend in recent weeks. Throughout the health system, COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last two weeks.
"It's not to be unexpected that we're seeing an increase in cases, particularly in those that are unvaccinated, or perhaps the group of individuals that are still not eligible for vaccination," said Dr. Alison Brodginski, Geisinger's northeast director of infectious diseases.
Dr. Alison Brodginski says the COVID-19 Delta variant is partially to blame. Delta is 50 percent more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19. The Delta variant is currently responsible for more than 80 percent of cases in the US. Almost all the people Dr. Brodginski sees with coronavirus infections have not been vaccinated.
"The great news is that we have not had anyone in our intensive care unit, and we have not had any deaths in any patient that has been fully vaccinated," Dr. Brodginski said.
Dr. Brodginski says currently, most people in our area contracting and being hospitalized with COVID-19 are in their 40s. Currently, just over 62 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are fully vaccinated.
"Unfortunately, we're not seeing that demand (for vaccinations) that we were seeing months ago, even weeks ago," Dr. Brodginski said.
People we spoke with are concerned that if the numbers keep rising, so could restrictions.
"It was back to normal, people were not wearing masks, but it's back up. People will go back to masks, and they won't like it," Christopher Beggs said.
"We just lost them at work, and it's a relief not to have to wear them anymore," Sonia Herrold said.
Geisinger currently has 30 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals. Health officials are concerned that if the Delta variant keeps spreading, those numbers could keep climbing.