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Geisinger sees first pediatric inflammatory syndrome case

Though the number of COVID-19 positive cases are gradually decreasing, masking, heightened sanitization awareness and social distancing will seemingly be a part of our new normal, according to Dr. Jaewon Ryu, Geisinger CEO and president.

“It is more important now than ever that we don’t let up on the precautionary measures,” he said in a press briefing on Friday.

Within the entire Geisinger health system, across all facilities and campuses, Ryu said they’ve tested over 12,000 people and have found their first case of the pediatric inflammatory disease, which is being closely monitored within the Danville Children’s Hospital.

Out of the 12,000 tested, Ryu said that 14 percent are coming back positive and of those testing positive, 17 percent of patients, around 500 or so patients, are being admitted into the hospital.

Today, he has seen a system-wide low of around 60 patients still remaining hospitalized with the majority being discharged and able to go home.

“We are continuing to see a downward trend,” he said.

With the reopening of society and the opening of non-emergent procedures and clinic visits emerging, many locals are concerned about businesses that are choosing to reopen and what will be the new

“normal” in our prospective communities.

“We have developed a tool kit and taken it out to employers,” Ryu said.

This tool kit includes guidance on how to manage flow of traffic through the facility, exits and entrances, visual cues on the ground, staggering lunch breaks, public bathroom sanitization and a lot more information.

“Masks are here to stay,” Ryu added. “It is very important.”

As far as the virus staying on surfaces, Ryu said that the virus or rather, fragments of the virus, could survive on surfaces for as long as 72 hours though he said that it is on the lower side in terms of risk in transmitting the virus.

“This is why we stress the precautions,” Ryu said. “Stay home if at all possible, wash your hands, try not to touch your face, keep surfaces clean and give back to your neighbors and family members.”

In terms of treatment, Ryu spoke about an up and coming vaccine, hydroxychloroquine and antibody testing.

Ryu said that there are over 100 different vaccines currently being developed and that he perceives there to be one if not more that are safe and effective for people to use, though he does not know when the vaccines will come out.

“Hopefully by the end of the year, if not early next year,” he said.

He also said that hydroxychloroquine is considered a drug that has dangerous side effects like heart arrhythmias.

“It is not something you want to take unless you have the right guidance,” he said.

Geisinger has not used this treatment unless necessary and if the patient is already hospitalized where the patient is constantly monitored by doctors and nurses.

In the last briefing, Ryu said the accuracy of the antibody testing was not ready. Today, he said that the test, which tells you if you have been exposed or not to the virus, is accurate enough to use.

One downside of the test includes that it won’t tell you if you have the right antibodies or enough to bring immunity.

“The science will continue to evolve,” he said.

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