COVID-19 cases rise in Centre County, hospitalizations remain high ahead of Thanksgiving

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Centre County headed into the Thanksgiving weekend with the highest one-day COVID-19 case total in more than two months.

The state Department of Health reported an additional 100 cases on Nov. 24. Daily cases hadn’t reached triple digits since Sept. 9. In all, there have been 22,396 cases — 20,166 confirmed and 2,230 probable — along with 84,344 negative tests.

A new death was reported to bring the county’s total to 256.

Mount Nittany Health said ahead of the holiday that COVID-19 patient totals remain high at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

This month, there has been a daily average of 32 patients compared to 19 during the same period a year ago. There have been 122 cases so far this month, the health care system said in a statement Nov. 24. The hospital was treating 35 patients between ages 42 and 95. Four were in the intensive care unit, and four were on ventilators. Overall, 26 of the 35 patients were not vaccinated, according to the health system dashboard.

Health systems continue to face the twin issues of high COVID patient numbers as well as difficulty discharging patients to care facilities, Dr. Upendra Thaker, Mount Nittany Medical Center chief medical officer, said. Many of these patients would not be in the hospital if there were not a pandemic, and they need higher levels of care. This is leading to increased wait times in the emergency department as well as postponements of some surgical procedures.

“The combination of COVID patients and longer hospital stays means we have fewer available beds to care for other patients,” Thaker said.

He asked community members to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID even while joining family members during the Thanksgiving holiday. Mount Nittany Health recommends getting vaccinated, keeping social distance, avoiding large gatherings, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

Statewide, 7,569 cases were reported Nov. 24 to bring the total to 1,704,528. There have been 5,877,018 negative tests, and 91% of people have recovered across Pennsylvania. The death total reached 33,101 as hospitalizations continued to rise. Patient totals approached 3,400, the highest they’ve been since February.

The Department of Health said the COVID-19 dashboard will be next updated on Nov. 29, after the holiday weekend.

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