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LVH-Pocono gives update on COVID-19 cases

Health care officials in Monroe County are closely watching the spread of the virus and seeing some good results.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Doctors at Lehigh Valley Hospital tell Newswatch 16 they are still monitoring the coronavirus day by day. Some days there is an increase in patients, other days, a decrease.

However, doctors say about two weeks ago, they started using hydroxychloroquine on patients and are seeing some good results.

Newswatch 16 spoke with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono infectious disease director, Dr. Susheer Gandotra, through Skype to get an update on what health officials are seeing at the hospital in East Stroudsburg.

"It varies day to day, but I can tell you we are not seeing a significant decrease on a daily basis, so we are still very, very cautious," said Dr. Gandotra.

Dr. Gandotra says symptoms of COVID-19 remain the same: fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The number of people being tested is also the same as last week. The age of patients varies, but there have been no children with the virus coming into the hospital.

About two weeks ago, the hospital started giving patients hydroxychloroquine. It's a common drug for treating malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, now getting national attention for it's potential to help with coronavirus.

"The data is still very preliminary, but there's some data to suggest that it helps, and we are going by that, and we are seeing some good results."

Newswatch 16 also asked if the hospital is concerned about a possible surge in cases.

"Yes, there is a concern that a surge is coming. We have been ready for that; we have been preparing for that. So far, we did see some increase earlier on in the last 10 days or so, and we might see further increase in the coming week or two. We are being prepared for that. There are some projections based on what is happening in New York, right next door, and New Jersey, so it could happen. It's very difficult to predict," Dr. Gandotra said.

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Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono officials, couldn't give an exact number of how many patients they have at the hospital with coronavirus but do say a majority of patients are being treated in medical-surgical units; some others are intensive care. Officials also confirm they have also been able to discharge some patients.