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Stories from the frontlines: ICU nurses speak as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise

As COVID-19 cases rise nationwide, healthcare workers are pleading with everyone to get vaccinated to avoid hospitalization & death

COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationwide as the Delta variant spreads throughout states. Now, healthcare workers are urging people to get vaccinated to avoid hospitalization and death as they are watching beds fill up across the area.

"The worst thing in the world that I had to deal with is there was a child that came in and both of her parents were in an ICU with COVID," said Nancy Himmelberger, a pediatric ICU nurse at Penn State Health. "We had to tell her as she was in the hospital that her father had passed. At that young age having to deal with that- that your father is taken and you can't even mourn properly because you yourself are having to fight for... you know, that's wicked hard on us nurses and providers."

As of Friday in Pennsylvania there were 1,307 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 338 patients are in intensive care.

"It's very heartbreaking especially seeing people pass away from COVID-19," said Susan Dillman, nurse at Penn State Health. Hillman noted that people do have the choice to get the vaccine but that she encourages them to get it. 

"It has been more stressful because of these situations. But, I'm always still happy to go to work at Hershey," she said.

Hear from Nancy Himmelberger, Pediatric ICU nurse at Penn State Health:

Hear from Susan Dillman, nurse at Penn State Health:

Below are current hospitalization numbers provided by the state's healthcare systems.

Penn Medicine

- Lancaster General Hospital has 39 COVID19 Positive inpatients

- 8 of the 39 (21%) COVID-19 patients are in critical care (ICU) at LGH

- 6 of the 39 (15%)  COVID-19 patients are on a ventilator at LGH

- The total number of COVID19 related deaths at LGH is 367 with the average of the deceased being 76-years-old

Learn more here.

Penn State Health

Penn State Health currently has 44 COVID-19 inpatients at its 3 hospitals.

None of those patients are children, according to hospital spokesperson Scott Gilbert.


"Across the UPMC system in the U.S., we are treating 251 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19: 88 are in southwestern Pennsylvania; 17 are in northcentral Pennsylvania; 52 are in southcentral Pennsylvania which is the Harrisburg region; 40 are in northwestern Pennsylvania and New York; and 54 are in the Altoona region and Maryland. There has been a slight increase in the number of pediatric patients that UPMC has in our hospitals due to COVID-19.

All UPMC facilities are safe, operating normally, and ready to provide care for patients and their families. As COVID-19 continues to evolve, UPMC encourages families and the public to vaccinate themselves and their children who are eligible as soon as possible. The best ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19 are by getting the vaccine, masking and social distancing."

- Tyler Wagner, spokesperson

Wellspan Health

As of Thursday Wellspan had a total of 92 COVID-19 patients across all of its hospitals statewide.

Chambersburg Hospital: 20

Ephrata Community Hospital: 3

Gettysburg Hospital: 12

Good Samaritan Hospital: 10

Waynesboro Hospital: 3

York Hospital: 44

Learn more here.


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