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Coronavirus concerns in Susquehanna County

Hospital leaders are alarmed as case numbers in their county continue to climb.

SUSQUEHANNA, Pa. — Susquehanna County added 42 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and staff members at Barnes-Kasson County Hospital in Susquehanna are concerned about the increase and what it means for testing and treating patients.

"We certainly have our challenges here, and we have more than our fair share of COVID in the community and in this county and just trying to keep up with it has been a huge challenge," said David Passetti, executive vice president at Barnes-Kasson.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Susquehanna County has added 342 cases this week. That may not sound high compared to our larger counties, but if you take into account the population, and the incidence rate is one of the highest in our area. 

The percentage of people getting tests who were positive was second highest in the state.

Passetti says the hospital has been inundated with people needing a COVID-19 test and others being admitted to the hospital with the coronavirus.

"Every time we think that there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, it fills back up. Our in-patient COVID unit has been plenty busy, mostly since mid-November. It has really picked up, and it seems to be accelerating at this point."

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

Hospital officials say they are disappointed that the county has such a high number of positive cases, and they fear it's because there is a low number of people vaccinated in the county.

"It's not for lack of vaccine at this point. There's plenty of vaccines, and there are plenty of people pursuing boosters, but unfortunately, it's that same 41 percent or 42 percent who have their first two shots," Passetti said. "I'd say we see somewhere between five and ten new patients per week pursuing to start the series for the first time, and at this point, the people who are going to boost have mostly done it."

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