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WellSpan Health system, operator of eight hospitals in south-central Pennsylvania, including Lebanon’s Good Samaritan Hospital, is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 admissions.

“As of [Dec. 12, 2021],” WellSpan spokesman Ryan Coyle said in an email, “there were 414 COVID-19 patients in our hospitals, representing about 1/3 of all of our beds across the whole health system.” 

One month earlier, WellSpan reported 225 admissions systemwide.

There were 418 COVID-19 admissions throughout WellSpan hospitals on Dec. 12, 2020.

Coyle described the increase in a Dec. 13 email. Citing data on WellSpan’s COVID-19 dashboard, he said, “as you can see, this surge is about to surpass that of last year.”  

Locally, Coyle said that “WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital has 59 COVID-19 patients, and that is the highest number that hospital has ever seen since the start of the pandemic.”

As of Dec. 12, WellSpan reported a “Rolling 7-Day Average of New Confirmed and Probable Cases” in Lebanon County of 129, compared to 63 one week earlier.

Coyle pointed out that “[WellSpan doesn’t] release hospital-by-hospital data related to vaccination rates, but last week we did announce that roughly 90% of all patients hospitalized at WellSpan Health for COVID-19 are un-vaccinated. Closer to 92% of those in the ICU are un-vaccinated, and 93% of those requiring a ventilator are un-vaccinated.”

About 49% of Lebanon Countians have been fully vaccinated.

WellSpan reports that there have been 184 “Cumulative Total Number of Deaths of Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Patients” to date at Good Samaritan.

The hospital system’s published data does not break down cases by COVID-19 variant. There had been at least one reported case of the recently-identified Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as of Dec. 12, none in Lebanon County.

Some preliminary reports suggest the the Omicron variant may be more contagious, but less harmful, than the widespread Delta variant.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...