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COVID-19 update from UPMC

Medical professionals at UPMC are asking people to take necessary precautions heading into the winter.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Medical professionals at UPMC Williamsport say COVID hospitalizations are significantly down compared to this time last year. However, they want the public to know that COVID is still prevalent in our communities.

"400 deaths are happening country-wide per day due to COVID, which is about 2,800 deaths a week. At the height of the pandemic, we saw around 6,500 people dying a week, so we are at one-third of those levels, but that is still a significant number of people dying from the virus," said Dr. Rutul Dalal, an infectious disease expert at UPMC Williamsport.

Numbers provided by the state show COVID infections are down, but that doesn't necessarily mean people are not getting sick; at-home COVID tests are just easier to come by.

"The number of new infections are definitely going down, but we can't tell for sure because most people are doing home-based antigen tests, so we don't see the pure number in the community," said Dr. Dalal.

As we approach the winter months and more people begin to gather inside, cases may rise. Dr. Dalal says people are not getting booster shots to prepare for a potential uptick in cases.

"If you saw the report, you will see that only around 35 percent of people eligible to get a booster had gotten a booster. What people don't understand is that keeps them out of the hospital and getting serious consequences," added Dr. Dalal.

Currently, COVID, RSV, the Flu, and other infections threaten the health care system. Dr. Dalal says it's important to keep an eye on your symptoms and limit spread.

"Rest up, rule out the most obvious things, isolate yourself for a few days if you possibly can, and of course, adhere to strict hand washing and hygiene, and try to wear a mask if you go out in public or if someone comes to your house knocking on your door," said Dr. Dalal.

You can sign up for a vaccine or booster shot here.

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

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