UPMC says they’re prepared if there’s a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations

UPMC says they’re prepared if there’s a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations

PITTSBURGH — The message has stayed consistent for months.

“Wash your hands, if you’re sick stay home. That still has to happen if you’re 18, 48 or 78,” said Dr. Don Yealy, the Senior Medical Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

But what hasn’t stayed consistent is the number of people in Allegheny County testing positive for the coronavirus.

Content Continues Below

From June 16 to June 22, Allegheny County reported 134 new cases, with eight new hospitalizations.

Over the last seven days, new cases jumped to 431, but only 16 new hospitalizations have been reported.

“We’re ready if more people need hospital care, need care that includes assisted breathing or an ICU. We have those plans, we have those assets and we have the people,” Yealy said.

Yealy said the hospital system says they have contingency plans in place if hospitalizations spike.

For now, doctors are seeing lower levels of the virus in those testing positive compared to several weeks ago.

“That pattern persists. In other words, we’re not seeing quite as many people that have severe illness,” Yealy said.

Yealy believes they’re better prepared than when the pandemic began — one of several reasons that Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen doesn’t expect another stay-at-home order to be put in place.

“We no longer need the sledgehammer. We need a strategic and effective approach to identify the source of the infections and shut them down, and limit visits to these locations or events,” Bogen said.

Experts said hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag a week or two behind new case data, meaning the next two weeks could be very telling in how severe these new cases are.

UPMC says it has lowest numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since early April