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Lehigh Valley Health Network gives COVID-19 update

Hospitals in Monroe County are keeping up with the rise of coronavirus cases in this part of the Poconos.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — COVID-19 cases are on the rise across Pennsylvania.

In Monroe County, hospitals are dealing with the increase of cases and hospitalizations.

According to the state, 52 people are hospitalized in Monroe County, 11 are being treated in the ICU.

Dr. Alex Benjamin is the Chief Infection Control Officer for Lehigh Valley Health Network. He says the hospital in East Stroudsburg is seeing cases continue to come in.

"We are at numbers that are close to the March and April surge," said Dr. Benjamin.

Monroe added 154 new cases over the past two days, bringing the county's case total to 4,072.

Dr. Benjamin tells Newswatch 16 that most patients are coming in with common symptoms, but doctors are monitoring some other ones in older patients.

"In our geriatric population, it's much different. Sometimes, in some cases, they can't communicate their needs, so we know that sometimes older patients stop communicating. It can look like a decline in their mental status. If they are in skilled nursing facilities or personal care homes, sometimes what the staff is seeing first is that they stop eating and drinking," said Dr. Benjamin.

Dr. Benjamin says as the holiday season continues, it's important for people to follow safety measures to prevent spreading the virus and keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

"We can't control how many people come into the hospital. We will take care of everyone who comes through our door. That being said, when the house is full, you know, we have to make different decisions on where we can put people and how quickly we can discharge people, so we implore the community to work to help us out by doing the things we know have worked," said Dr. Benjamin.

Lehigh Valley Health Network is also preparing for the possibility of getting front line workers vaccinated for COVID-19 as early as next week as long as the FDA approves the treatments.