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Some caution in Poconos amid a surge in coronavirus cases

In the past week, Monroe County added 2,417 COVID-19 cases. The county's positivity rate is 32%, the highest in Pennsylvania.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Doctors and nurses at St. Luke's University Health Network are being stretched thin, as hospitals and ER beds are near capacity because of the recent surge in positive coronavirus cases in Monroe County.

"The entire eastern half of Pennsylvania is affected in a major surge way, and for that matter, we're some of the highest incidences in the country," said Dr. Jeffrey Jafre, an Infectious disease specialist and senior vice president of medical and academic affairs at St. Luke's University Health Network.

In the past week, the county added 2,417 cases. The county's positivity rate is 32%, the highest in the state of Pennsylvania.

RELATED: How to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine, booster appointment in Pennsylvania

Sasha Calderon of Stroudsburg had the virus a few weeks back. She is being more cautious and hopes others are too as a result of the increase in cases.

"I honestly think it's nuts; it's crazy. I just feel that people need to be more clean, and also social distancing is I think the biggest issue with people still hanging out," said Calderon. "Not keeping in mind that this is a serious issue and we all should be separated."

Dr. Jahre says cases are higher right now, as opposed to this time last year when the vaccine just came out.

"We know that many more people are being infected, although the disease, in general, is less serious," Dr. Jahre said. "The fact that so many people are being infected that a certain portion of those individuals, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are going to end up in the hospital and in more serious conditions, and that's what we're seeing."

Tom McKevitt of Bucks County plans to do keep doing what's he's been doing.

"I got my mask here when I go in. I have a mask on. I sanitize, wash my hands, you know, social distance, all that stuff," said McKevitt.

Health care professionals believe just as quickly as the new variant spreads, positive cases will start to come down.

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