With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, UPMC continues to restrict access to its healthcare facilities to patients, identified and approved support personnel, staff and key providers.
Dr. Rutul Dalal, Medical Director, Infectious Diseases, UPMC in North Central Pa., Noted that 189 patients were treated for COVID across the healthcare system, including 14 at UPMC area hospitals, which include those in Williamsport, Muncy, Wellsboro and Coudersport.
Many other people are being tested and treated at home and do not need hospital services.
“But we are seeing the increase in cases in hospitals recently, in line with trends from across the Commonwealth and nation,” he said. “Our current volumes are much lower than what we experienced this winter.”
Dulal stressed the importance of people knowing the risk of infection and taking steps to protect themselves, such as getting vaccinated, staying away from large indoor crowds and masking, especially in large gatherings of people.
Vaccinations and boosters remain one of the best ways to continue to fight the spread of infection, he noted.
“We also continue to require people who come to any UPMC facility to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth and that they practice other preventative measures such as physical distancing, even if they are fully vaccinated.” said Dalal.
Barbara Hemmendinger, of the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition and Let’s End COVID, said now is not the time for people to let their guards down.
A large portion of the state, including Lycoming County, falls under the Centers for Disease Control and Infections high community level for COVID.
“We are dealing with Omicron variants, which are the most contagious we have ever seen,” she said.
The caveat to that, she said, is that for many, the symptoms appear to be milder than with other variants. However, many people may still develop symptoms that persist.
“CDC recommends wearing masks indoors,” she said. “It’s a recommendation and it’s based on science.”
She stressed the need for people to protect themselves and others from infection.