Hospital systems in Williamsport and the region are at or near capacity because of surging cases of coronavirus and a need to continue to provide medical care for non-COVID-19 related patients.
Whether it is UPMC, Geisinger Medical Center or Evangelical Community Hospital, much of the increases are presumed to be caused by the omicron variant, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health.
For this region as labeled by CDC is seeing 94% omicron variant.
In support of the state Department of Health and the state Emergency Management Agency, the state National Guard activated a dual-status commander Dec. 31 to provide command and control of federal COVID-19 response teams who arrived in Pennsylvania recently.
Cases are soaring, and stress levels at these health care facilities are increasing, officials reported Wednesday even as Gov. Tom Wolf had the Pennsylvania National Guard in place.
Brig. Gen. James McCormack will oversee an active-duty Air Force medical response team in York and a medical assistance team in Scranton. These teams were sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the request of Wolf.
“We have not asked for the Guard,” said Tyler Wagner, a UPMC spokesman, providing the latest positivity rates.
Across the UPMC system in the U.S., the hospitals are treating 844 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 92 of whom are being treated at UPMC hospitals in north central Pennsylvania, which includes UPMC Williamsport, UPMC Muncy, UPMC Cole in Coudersport, UPMC Wellsboro and UPMC Lock Haven. “The demand for services has grown dramatically over last few months for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related care,” Wagner said. The latter is how the situation differs from last year when overall care demand outside of COVID-19 was lower.
To multiply the stress are the demands on UPMC health care workers, who’ve been working “tirelessly” for 22 months,” Wagner said. “Simply put, more people want and need care from fewer people, demand is exceeding supply — something true across the entire U.S.,” he said.
While all UPMC facilities are operating at a level near or over capacity, it is suspected others are also. But we remain open, and we will be there for you when you need us. UPMC staff are challenged. It is not easy, but our dedicated teams are working very hard every day.” Testing in emergency departments
“Rather, we recommend that if you’ve been exposed or feel that you need a test that you call your primary care provider and they can direct you to the resources if testing is needed. “If necessary, your primary care provider can get you scheduled for an appointment for testing at one of our testing sites or provide information on other testing options in the community.”
“We are encouraging community members who are asymptomatic to seek testing in ways other than coming to the Emergency Department,” Wagner said. UPMC has seen an increase in COVID-19 and also is seeing an increase in demand for testing.
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