Midstate hospitals impose restrictions, prepare for increase of COVID-19 cases

  • Rachel McDevitt/StateImpact Pennsylvania

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(Harrisburg)– Midstate hospitals are postponing some surgeries and putting other restrictions in place as they ramp up efforts to deal with COVID-19.

Penn State Health said its surgeons are reviewing patient needs case-by-case and putting non-essential, elective surgeries on hold at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Derry Township and St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading.

Administrators said the move is part of plans to respond to the COVID-19 issue, and precautions designed to protect patients and staff.

The health system is now offering free virtual screenings for COVID-19 through its telehealth service, Penn State Health OnDemand.

Patients with a doctor’s order from the OnDemand app will be able to use a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Hershey Medical Center. The drive-through is not open to the general public.

Danville-based Geisinger, which operates Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, Cumberland County, is limiting inpatient visits to one healthy visitor per patient and suspending non-urgent procedures.

It is also setting up screening tents on hospital campuses to prepare for an expected increase in cases of the new respiratory illness.

People who think they need to be tested for COVID-19 are asked to call ahead before going to a health care facility.

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