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Protecting non-COVID patients in Hazleton

Despite doubling cases of COVID-19, the hospital is still open and prepared to treat patients without the virus.

HAZLETON, Pa. — Officials at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Hazleton say they have a plan within the hospital and with first responders to help keep COVID-19 patients separate from all other patients while seeking and receiving treatment.

Emergency room doctors at Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton tell Newswatch 16 they are seeing many patients coming in with COVID-19 symptoms.

"What is coming in now are some really sick patients, and so not only are patients coming in more and more, but patients that are really getting sick with the disease," said Dr. Andrew Miller, a leader in the emergency department at the hospital.

But that doesn't mean the hospital is off-limits for others.

"We have our command center that's been in effect for the last several weeks that helps dictate how we mobilize our ER strategies, our inpatient strategies, our outpatient strategies to really prepare for this pandemic," explained Dr. Miller.

Dr. Miller says many steps are in place to keep others separated from patients with or presumed to have, COVID-19.

"I do want to tell you in the hospital, in the emergency department, for instance, we did start our plan to group patients with COVID or without COVID for patients coming in. Because we are still seeing patients with stroke or heart attack and trauma and we're trying to get those away from patients with COVID," said Dr. Miller.

Dr. Miller says those patients are vulnerable, and their safety, along with everyone else's, is the hospital's priority.

"If you come in we'll do screening even our paramedics, our pre-hospital providers, will be doing screening to try and identify those patients prior to arrival so we can get you within the right place in the emergency department to try and get you in the right place to try and prevent a mixing of the two patient populations," added Dr. Miller.

The hospital says it prepared to handle an expected surge of COVID-19 cases but is always seeking protective equipment donations. If you would like to do so, you can find information on how to here.

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