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Update from Geisinger on COVID-19 cases

The health system CEO believes the number of positive cases will continue to increase.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Around 700 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at all of Geisinger's facilities.

The health system is preparing for an increase in positive cases, and Geisinger's CEO believes that surge could start in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.

Hospitals all over the world are dealing with the coronavirus, as more and more positive cases are reported each day. Geisinger is one of the biggest health systems in our area. While the numbers are constantly changing, Geisinger has tested more than 6,500 people for COVID-19, and around 700 tested positive.

"Of those that have been positive, 12 to 15 percent of those have gotten admitted into the hospital," said Dr. Jaewon Ryu, Geisinger's president and CEO.

Dr. Ryu tells Newswatch 16 there is no doubt there will be a surge of positive cases and says Geisinger is prepared.

"I think the question is, how big of a surge? How long of a surge? When is the surge?"

Dr. Ryu believes the surge in positive cases will continue in the northeastern part of our area, like in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. The city of Hazleton has already seen an increase.

"There's no doubt in my mind that we're seeing a good share of those as we've always been involved in the care of that community."

Dr. Ryu says all coronavirus patients are confined to the same areas of the hospitals.

"That allows the staff to have the right expertise. They're very familiar with putting on and taking off the gear, which is something you have to do pretty carefully."

Dr. Ryu also spoke about hydroxychloroquine, a drug being used to treat coronavirus patients. He says it is still too early to tell how much it helps.

"It is on our treatment protocol, but with an understanding that the evidence is very limited, It's not really proven."

Dr. Ryu says some staff members at Geisinger have tested positive, and that is to be expected. This week, Geisinger implemented mandatory masking at all of its facilities.