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Geisinger sounding the alarm over current surge of COVID-19

Geisinger's CEO says all of its hospitals are at or above capacity and doctors describe conditions that are even worse than during the peak last year.

DANVILLE, Pa. — COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With cases on the rise, Geisinger Health System held a press briefing to discuss what medical professionals are seeing in their hospitals.

"It is really strapping and putting strain on the overall health care system and infrastructure and not just at Geisinger. I know this is going on across our region, across our communities, and really across the country as well," said Dr. Jaewon Ryu, Geisinger CEO and president.

Many of Geisinger's campuses across our viewing area are operating over 100 percent capacity. Many of the folks in these hospitals are receiving treatment for COVID-19, and 90 percent of those individuals are not vaccinated.

"I recently took care of a married couple who refused the vaccine and had refused proven therapies that my brilliant infectious disease colleagues have vetted and designed protocols for us, and they both prematurely left their family members behind them," said Dr. Essie Reed, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

Geisinger doctors say both infection and hospitalization totals are already a bit higher now than it was last year at this time.

"We are starting oxygen on COVID patients in the hallway, and those hallway beds are often double or triple booked. We are doing that because we are trying to make space to see more patients."

Geisinger says it is struggling to keep up with demand for non-COVID-related cases. This has contributed to 15-hour wait room times just to be admitted into the ER.

"We are starting to practice waiting room medicine, which is something I never imagined that I would see in my career. We are diagnosing perforated bowels, running CAT scans, doing lab work, and any sort of test that we can on patients that are waiting for us in the waiting room."

Geisinger is urging folks to get vaccinated if they have not already. Get more information here.

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.  

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