ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) —Hospitalizations are increasing across the Twin Tiers at the onset of a potential surge in cases this winter. Guthrie Health says COVID-19 hospitalizations at their facilities are approaching what they were at the peak of the pandemic last winter.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a really significant increase in hospitalizations,” Dr. Michael Scalzone, Chief Quality Officer with Guthrie Health, told 18 News. “There is significant pressure on hospitals and we’ve had to accommodate a lot of patients with COVID as well as with non-COVID illness. Hospitals are busy.”

Several states have reported cases of the omicron variant in recent days; however, it is the highly transmissible delta variant that is the driving force behind the current outbreak, the Times reported last week.

More than 55,000 people are currently hospitalized in the U.S. due to the coronavirus. While this number is far lower than September’s high, many states have seen a significant increase in hospitalizations compared to just two weeks ago.

The recent trend of increased COVID-19 infections and related hospitalizations continues to stress the healthcare resources in our region.  However, as a community, we can reverse this course.  Statewide data indicates that the high rate of infection in our region correlates to the relatively low rate of vaccination in our surrounding communities. 

Arnot remains committed to our efforts — which began exactly one year ago today — to offer regular opportunities for community members to receive their first, second, or booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.  We have administered more than 41,000 doses of vaccine to date, with more than 1,000 of those doses given this week. 

The bottom line is that we need everyone’s help in this fight against COVID-19.  Vaccines, including boosters, mask use, proper hand hygiene and social distancing are all tools at our disposal to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the devastation it can wreak on patients and their families. 

Ken Roberts, Arnot Health

Guthrie Health has several facilities across New York and Pennsylvania and they work together as a healthcare system to accommodate the influx of patients with COVID or non-COVID-related illnesses. They say if one hospital is overwhelmed, they are able to transfer patients to another medical center with bed space.

“If one of our hospitals is very stressed with volume, we have been transferring patients to different facilities, particularly if one site has ICU care availability and another does not,” Dr. Scalzone continued.

As the pandemic wains on, Dr. Scalzone remains concerned about the new, highly transmissible omicron variant, the upcoming flu season, which remains in question, and the stress on healthcare systems nationwide. He concluded by saying anyone in need of medical attention or consultation on any health matter should consult their doctor. Guthrie Health is ready to accommodate all patients.