High numbers of COVID inpatients continue amid regional and national surge in cases
As 2021 nears its end, Mount Nittany Medical Center is caring for 43 COVID patients ranging in age from 29 to 89. The average number of daily patients in December is 57 and the total number of patients in December is 219. For comparison, the average number of inpatients in December last year was 48, which represents a 17 percent increase.
The Medical Center continues to monitor the local and regional surge in COVID cases and make real time operational adjustments to meet patient demand. Elective surgeries requiring a one-night stay or more have been postponed through January 5, along with all Endoscopy procedures. Community members can continue to expect longer than normal wait times when using the emergency department.
Upendra Thaker, MD, chief medical officer, Mount Nittany Medical Center, urges community members to take caution as we head into a second weekend of holiday gatherings amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
“The Omicron variant is two to three times more transmissible than the Delta variant,” said Upendra Thaker, MD, chief medical officer, Mount Nittany Medical Center. “There are also a high number of people who are asymptomatic or have minimal symptoms which creates a perfect storm for spreading the virus unknowingly. We do anticipate an even greater increase in cases following the holidays with more hospitalizations to follow.”
Thaker previously noted that preliminary data from South Africa and other countries shows healthy adults often have less severe illness with Omicron. However, he cautions we still do not have enough data to predict how Omicron will affect people in the U.S. who have much higher rates of comorbid health conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which typically makes them much more vulnerable to severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
The physicians, nurses and staff at Mount Nittany Health continue their plea to the community to take precautions to slow, and stop, the surge of the virus.
- Avoid large indoor gatherings
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands
- Get vaccinated.
- If you are already vaccinated, get a booster shot, and continue to wear a mask if spending time in crowded indoor public spaces.
If you experience any symptoms like fever, cough, chills, scratchy throat, body aches, headaches and / or loss of taste or smell, seek testing and isolate yourself from others.
The Department of Health will continue offering no-cost COVID-19 testing in Centre County at a new location: the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority at 253 Transfer Road in State College. Beginning January 4, the site will be open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Anyone seeking testing, regardless of age or residency, may use this site. You can also find additional testing sites on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.
Thank your local healthcare workers
Community members are joining Mount Nittany Health at courageousatheart.org in thanking our healthcare workers who continue working tirelessly on the frontlines through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please feel free to add your own well wishes.
Mount Nittany Medical Center Visitation
The current visitation policy allows one designated visitor per patient, per day, between the visiting hours of 2:00 – 6:00 pm daily. The complete visitation guidelines are on the patient information page of mountnittany.org.
Mount Nittany Health continues to offer COVID vaccination opportunities for community members. Please visit our website to register for a Pfizer BioNTech vaccine or booster dose. Importantly, if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or believe you have been exposed to someone who is COVID positive, then please isolate yourself from others and seek testing. Visit our patient information page to learn more.