UPMC reports falling virus numbers

COVID-19 hospitalizations and testing rates at sites in the Susquehanna Region have decreased over the last few weeks.

“The outpatient testing site volume has decreased,” Dr. David Lopatofsky, chief medical officer of UPMC Susquehanna, said. “That is sort of our lead indicator.”

Lopatofsky said that in December, the system saw over 1,200 patients hospitalized from COVID across their system.

Meanwhile, over the last few weeks, they have only seen 500 hospitalized patients, 60 of them being in Central Pennsylvania.

“The numbers have declined over the last couple of weeks for inpatient,” he said.

Total of patients in the Intensive Care Unit are around 20 percent system-wide.

“We are certainly not out of the woods yet…there are good developments,” Lopatofsky added.

There is also still a very limited source of vaccinations, according to Lopatofsky.

With that UPMC as a system has not started rolling out vaccinations to the newly expanded phase 1A group that includes people over 65 years old and those who are aged 16 to 64 with serious medical conditions.

The “allotments” of the vaccines have just not been enough of resources to provide that level of demand, but UPMC remains working diligently with the state to transition into providing for that expansion.

UPMC will also alert the citizens in their communities when it is their time to schedule their appointment.

“There isn’t a lot of clarity on allotments right now. Just having the vaccine is a miracle,” Lopatofsky said. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”

Approximately 75 percent of UPMC staff in the Susquehanna region including Lycoming, Clinton, Tioga and Potter counties have received their first dose of the vaccine with around 1,700 of them already started on their second dose.

Lopatofsky said that every staff member has received their email with how to schedule their appointment, but want to remind readers that the vaccine is not a mandate and is up to the staff’s discretion.

Well over 500 non-UPMC health care workers have also received their first doses.

Systemwide, 51,000 frontline workers have received their first dose with over 18,000 receiving their second dose.

UPMC has also opened clinics at local fire departments in Lycoming, Clinton and Tioga counties to help with the non-affiliated healthcare workers.

“That is a pretty substantial effort that has been ongoing,” Lopatofsky said.

“Even in a post-vaccine world, we will still need to do everything we have already done: masking, social distancing, the importance of handwashing. We want to emphasize to the community that all of those things are continuing to be important until the pandemic is over with.”


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