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Healthwatch 16: Health care workers feeling effects of omicron

Workers throughout Geisinger Health System are dealing with rising cases of the coronavirus.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Geisinger currently has more than 330 people hospitalized with COVID-19 within its health system. More than 60 of those people are in the intensive care unit. Hospital officials say it is busier than usual.

"COVID makes up just about one-third of our patients altogether, maybe not quite even that high," said Dr. Rosemary Leeming, chief medical officer at Geisinger Medical Center.

Dr. Leeming says nearly 1,100 Geisinger employees are currently quarantined from COVID.

"That's gone up and down, but clearly, the employees are part of the community, and there's a huge positivity rate in the community itself. Even though omicron doesn't seem to be as severe, it clearly is very contagious," Dr. Leeming said.

Nearly 1,100 employees is a high number, and it's not only doctors and nurses. People who clean rooms, deliver meals, and work in administration are all important members of the Geisinger team.

"They are an integral part of our team, and again, they are part of our community as well. As the omicron spreads through the community, it's not unexpected that employees are getting exposed," Dr. Leeming said.

Dr. Leeming says the positive employee cases have not affected patient care. Geisinger is shifting around employees and delayed many elective surgeries.

"We're still doing emergencies and things that threaten life and limb, but certainly for those patients that require elective types of procedures, that's been delayed," Dr. Leeming said.

Dr. Leeming asks for people to be patient when they come into the hospitals; the staff is doing the best they can.

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

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