Geisinger CEO: Record trends leading to high hospital rates

DANVILLE—Geisinger’s President and CEO Dr. Jaewon Ryu says the hospital system is seeing some very concerning community trends related to COVID-19.

He says the capacity demands at this point, are well beyond what they saw in the spring, “In fact, as far as the number of patients with COVID in our hospitals, that demand we’ve seen since November 9th blow past where we were back in April and we’re probably even 40 to 50 percent higher than that at this point.”

In a media briefing Friday, Dr. Ryu said over the past few weeks, they’ve seen the positivity rate increase from 9 to 14 percent, and in the last few days, they’ve seen it growing closer to 20 percent,

“That in of itself is one fact, but then of course, we also look at how many of those people are landing inside our hospitals because the hospital admission criteria have not fundamentally changed throughout the pandemic. So, if we’re seeing those numbers climb then we’re truly seeing more people who are coming down with sicker versions of the virus.”

Dr. Ryu says they had about 130 patients admitted to Geisinger’s hospitals systemwide in April, that’s compared to close to 200 as of Friday. He says they’ve had to dial back their non-urgent elective procedures by about 10 to 15 percent to create extra capacity. However, even with the merger delays with Evangelical Community Hospital, patient transfers are still an option, “If there’s an open bed and there’s a patient with need, we go ahead and allow for that transfer. I think that’s how we’ve always done it, that has not changed.”

The full media briefing with Dr. Ryu is posted online at wkok.com

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