WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital is seeing a surge in COVID-19 patient admissions – the highest, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday, since the pandemic began earlier this year.

“We can confirm that in recent days the hospitalization count of COVID-19 patients at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital is the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic,” Ryan Coyle, manager of public relations and communications at WellSpan Health, said in an email to LebTown.

“However, each of our facilities across the health system, including WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, are adequately equipped to respond to the needs of our patients at this time,” Coyle continued. “We can expand our bed capacity if it were to become necessary.”

Stephanie Mease Andreozzi, senior director of clinical services at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, has been noting the increase on social media.

On Oct. 5, for instance, she posted on Facebook that WellSpan had observed “a big increase” in Lebanon County over the first five days of the month. She said the increase was likely tied to Labor Day gatherings, the reopening of schools and churches, and “a community that’s understandably weary of restrictions.”

The hospital was “not overwhelmed” with COVID-19 patients then, Andreozzi said, “but we don’t want to be.”

“We want to be able to care for all the patients who need us when there isn’t a pandemic. Those with chronic conditions. Those who need procedures. Those with emergencies,” she added. “We’ve had the luxury of nice weather and outdoor activities this summer and fall, but as things get colder and we all move indoors, I’m asking all of you to continue to be safe. Masks and social distance are still necessary. We can do this and still support businesses safely. Please be a part of keeping our community safe.”

In a followup message posted Oct. 23, Andreozzi said wrote: “Good Sam has its highest number of COVID19 hospitalized patients. 27. And while that number doesn’t sound like a lot, that’s 27 really sick patients on top of what we’d normally have in the hospital. 27 patients who require isolation, PPE use, and specialty care. IT’S A LOT.”

She continued: “PLEASE continue to make choices that include social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands. Please don’t play covid roulette, assuming that it won’t affect you or won’t be that bad. The numbers of sick patients are rising. It’s not just affecting old people, or those with co-morbid conditions. It’s affecting our community.”

According to an online dashboard of hospital-specific data, which WellSpan Health has provided for the public since mid-April, there have to date been 12,834 tests performed by WellSpan Health in Lebanon County, with 12,705 of those finalized and 129 pending. Of those, 1,405 tests – or 11.1 percent – were positive, according to a Nov. 2 update. Also, according to the report, there have been 30 deaths at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital as a result of coronavirus.

Currently, the dashboard says, there are 31 confirmed positive COVID-19 patients at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital and one presumed patient under investigation.

“Resources and capacity are important considerations, which is why we are all placing an emphasis on prevention,” Coyle told LebTown. “It’s important to remember that the best way to prevent potential spread of COVID-19 is to adhere to the calls for social distancing and the need for masks or face coverings. Everyone must do their part to slow the resurgent spread of COVID-19 and its impacts on health systems.”

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Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.


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