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Geisinger: Hospitalizations, positive tests on the rise

“This virus is a very humbling virus, you have to be very adaptable,” Dr. Jaewon Ryu, Geisinger president and CEO said in a press briefing on Friday morning. “We have to be super vigilant. Don’t let off the gas.”

With record high numbers across the state in the last couple of weeks, Geisinger has also seen a recent uptick in hospitalizations and positive tests across their health care system, according to Ryu.

“COVID is in our communities and it is spreading,” he said. “It (the virus) looks like it is making a resurgence. It is obviously concerning.”

In the most recent weeks, Ryu said that Geisinger has seen new COVID-positive patients admitted into the hospital every two hours

People ages 20 to 29 and ages 50 to 59 have seen the most positive tests since September, he added.

The “multifactorial” virus has increased the positivity rate now near 10 percent and hospitalization across the system has been around 80 to 90 patients, where in July and August, hospitalization was 30 patients and below, Ryu said.

The causes of this uptick, though not certain, seem to be with the recent environmental changes of colder weather and holiday congregations, Ryu mentioned.

“More activities are moving indoors,” he said. Though hospital systems have gotten better at treatment plans for those infected with COVID-19, the treatments are not “full proof,” according to Ryu. He is optimistic that, with a distributable and effective vaccine, the virus could be more tolerable and less likely to spread.

Geisinger is not participating in any vaccine trials currently, but Ryu said he has seen some promising efforts.

With changes in the environment and more gatherings will come increased restrictions at hospitals and Geisinger’s healthcare system is no different.

The system has brought back stricter visitor restrictions while maintaining required masking, hand hygiene and screenings, Ryu said.

“Our team is just fantastic,” he said. “Hopefully we can stem the tides. …We just have to be careful.”

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