HONESDALE, Pa. — So far this week, Wayne County has added 330 positive cases of COVID-19 and four deaths.
Dr. Sean McVeigh is the chief of staff at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale. He expected to see a surge in COVID cases after the holidays, especially among children now that they are returning to school.
"Being in that mindset of masking, hand-washing on a routine with the school actually helped to limit a lot of what we're seeing now over the holidays," said Dr. McVeigh
The doctor says while the omicron variant of COVID does present milder symptoms, there are still patients being hospitalized.
"We have 20 beds reserved for COVID patients, and really since August, we've been operating at about 100 percent capacity. And there have been times we've been over our 100 percent bed capacity, having to keep patients in the emergency room to accommodate for those cases."
Dr. McVeigh says as the number of positive cases increases, the number of people who seek out testing is increasing, and that is also overwhelming the hospital.
"We are asking those individuals not to go to the emergency room specifically for testing, or not go to an urgent care specifically for testing, and to contact their primary care doctor to get a prescription to go one to one of the many outpatient test centers that are available, or to utilize home test kits that have been made available through the pharmacies."
Dr. McVeigh says people who test positive at home may not report that result to the Department of Health. He also worries that other members of those households are just assuming they have the virus.
"And resources are allocated based on your county's numbers, so people are doing home tests and not calling the ... state (health) department or their doctor. We have no idea what the true number of people are out there."
Wayne Memorial plans to open a COVID-19 testing site at the Pike County Training Center near Blooming Grove on Tuesday.
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