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COVID-19 update from UPMC Susquehanna

At UPMC Susquehanna, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are trending downwards.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — According to medical professionals at UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport, COVID-19 numbers in the region appear to be trending downward.

Dr. Rutul Dalal says that the number of hospitalizations is significantly lower than in the months of November and December.

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"Actually, we are back to our pre-Thanksgiving numbers, and to give you a synopsis, we are at least 50% down. We were in the 80s at one point. 80 was the average census of the patients we had, and we are in the low 40s now," said Dr. Dalal. 

Dr. Dalal credited the downward trend of cases to a few things he is seeing in the community.

"Now, we are probably seeing some kind of a limited herd immunity in the area. Number two is that people are starting to take this more seriously because until November, our area did not see a huge spike in cases, and now people's perspective has changed, and they are getting more scared," said Dr. Dalal. 

In the coming weeks, the hospital system will begin vaccinating the people in tier 1B.

RELATED: State announces COVID-19 vaccination plans

"So, 1B includes people over the age of 65 and also people who are younger than 65 with certain health conditions, such as people who don't have the best immunity for various reasons," said Dr. Dalal.

If you have had COVID-19, Dr. Dalal says you should think about getting the vaccine once it is made available to you.

"Having the vaccine will give you more of a robust immunity, and preliminary studies are showing that you will be immune for up to a year," said Dr. Dalal. 

Medical professionals say that the downward trend has taken some strain off the hospital system.

They are asking people to continue doing their part by avoiding large gatherings and masking.