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Some Central Pa. hospitals are rescheduling elective and non-emergency procedures as COVID-19 patient numbers trend upward

WellSpan Health and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health are among the healthcare systems delaying certain procedures due to the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

YORK, Pa. — Note: The video is from Nov. 29

As COVID-19 numbers spike again across Pennsylvania, some Central Pa. healthcare systems have started postponing elective and other non-emergency procedures due to an influx of new patients.

On Thursday, the state Department of Health's updated COVID-19 numbers reported 9,143 new positive cases across the commonwealth, bringing the statewide cumulative total to more than 1.7 million since the outbreak began.

WellSpan Health said it is delaying non-emergency care while its six acute care facilities in York County care for approximately 300 COVID-19 patients.

"We have implemented several protocols to manage the volume and severity of this situation and are currently redeploying resources and delaying non-emergent care across our system of 200+ care locations," spokesperson Ryan Coyle said in a statement. "Of those (COVID-19 patients) currently hospitalized, the vast majority (88%) are unvaccinated. In fact, 92% of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated; and 93% of patients who currently require a ventilator are unvaccinated. 

"We urge community members to stay vigilant with safety measures like hand washing, masking and social distancing and to get the COVID-19 vaccine so WellSpan and other healthcare systems can continue to provide care for all patients who need support at this time."

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health in Lancaster County said it has also seen an upward trend in the number of COVID-19 patients, and has rescheduled some elective surgeries this week. 

"In comparison to three weeks ago, we are seeing twice the amount of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at LGH," spokesperson Marcie Brody said in a statement to FOX43. "As capacity allows, we will work with the patients, their families, and surgeons on rescheduling (elective) procedures.

"The rise in cases is yet another reminder of the importance of taking simple, proven precautions: Wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands, and large gatherings, and please get vaccinated and boosted to protect you and your loved ones."

UPMC Central PA spokesperson Tyler Wagner told FOX43 that the healthcare systems evaluates the situation daily to determine the best way to serve patients at all times. 

"The timing for procedures involves individual conversations and decisions between the patient and their care team," Wagner said.

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