There has been a surge in COVID-19 patients at the Geisinger Lewistown Hospital. We chatted on the air with Dr. Michael Hegstrom, GLH Chief Medical Officer. Here are some of the things we need to know to keep our families and friends, our whole community really, safe.

•  This is truly an issue of community spread at this point.
•  Nursing homes are no longer the driver of COVID activity

•  As of last night, we had 20 inpatients at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital
•  This means GLH has as many COVID patients currently as Geisinger Medical Center
•  We have more COVID-19 patients in GLH right now than we did in the spring

•  Any uptick in the community places incredible strain on our hospital and health system.
•  As the only hospital in Mifflin County, these increased intensive care unit hospitalizations are concerning
•  We’re well prepared to handle this, but it still places unnecessary strain on our patients and families who may not be able to get the care they need close to home.
•  Things may be different in other parts of the state or country, but we have community spread in our area, people are getting sick, and this hospital is starting to fill up
•  And we aren’t even in the heart of flu and cold season yet

•  As we’ve said all along, we are all in this together. Acting now can help make sure that everyone can get the care they need when they need it, and, most importantly, we can save the lives of our families, friends and neighbors.
• In the absence of a vaccine, our best defense is our behavior.

•  If you’re having symptoms you think are related to COVID-19, first contact your primary care physician, who can advise on proper treatment and, if necessary, recommend further testing.
•  You can also call the Geisinger nurse triage line with questions about symptoms or the need for further evaluation or testing at 570-284-3657.
•  Geisinger Convenient Care in Lewistown is also a cold and flu center. You can head to that location for treatment of cold, flu and respiratory symptoms as well.

•  As of Monday, we are restricting all visitors – with some exceptions – at all of our inpatient hospitals. This will remain in effect until further notice.
•  This includes no visitation – with some exceptions – in our emergency room.
•  We arrived at this very difficult decision because of the increase COVID activity we’ve seen both in our communities as well as in our hospitals.