WellSpan delays non-urgent care as COVID spike slams Pennsylvania over holiday weekend

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WellSpan York Hospital and York City Police have a new initiative to provide additional police services.

WellSpan York is feeling the brunt of a spike of COVID cases over the Thanksgiving weekend and is delaying non-urgent care.

Reported cases of people with COVID are on the rise nationally in the wake of many gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The state Department of Health reported the highest COVID case numbers since January of this year on November 17, with 7,546 new cases reported in one day, and the trend continued through the weekend.

WellSpan reported its highest spike since January, with about 314 hospitalizations across its six acute care locations.

More: COVID-19 deaths: York County passes a grim milestone since the start of the pandemic

On Tuesday, Melanie Rose Farabaugh, a doctor at York Hospital, posted on her social media that the WellSpan location was at 130 percent of its licensed bed capacity, with 70 patients in the emergency department who needed to be hospitalized.

Farabaugh posted a screenshot of a WellSpan system alert stating York Hospital had declared an “internal disaster.”

WellSpan spokesman Ryan Coyle wrote in a statement that York Hospital did not have an internal disaster, but the message was part of an automated communication system to alert those operating in the hospital of the need to open a command center to manage the COVID rise.

A command center is a practice in hospitals where representatives from all divisions of healthcare come together to determine a plan for dealing with rising COVID numbers.

“WellSpan Health is currently caring for an extremely high number COVID-19 patients,” Coyle wrote. “We have implemented several protocols to manage the volume and severity of this situation and are currently redeploying resources and delaying non-(emergency) care across our system of 200+ care locations.”

Coyle said 88 percent of the patients are unvaccinated, and 93 percent of patients on ventilators are unvaccinated.

According to the state Department of Health, as of Wednesday in York County, 158 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, 33 in the ICU and 28 on ventilators. To date, 1,070 people in York County have died of COVID-19.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Thanksgiving spikes COVID hospitalizations; Wellspan preps for crisis

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