Medical expert talks COVID-19, gives recommendations for area residents

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Healthcare officials are urging people to take COVID-19 safety measures.

Dr. Michael Evans, the medical director for the Lehigh Valley Hospital Physicians Group in Hazleton, is urging people to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. He says the number of cases is very concerning.

“We are seeing the positivity rate go up and we are seeing hospitalizations go up as well,” Dr. Evans said.

Dr. Evans is sounding the alarm that the trajectory of the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area should be a wake-up call to every resident.

“So, it is something we are tracking on a daily basis. We’ve seen the trend starting a few weeks ago and it’s getting to the point now where it’s really impactful in the hospital. Patients are getting sicker requiring hospitalization at an increasing rate,” Dr. Evans said.

Evans says that now is not the time to let down your guard when it comes to the coronavirus.

“There are really five big things. One is wearing a mask all the time, second one is avoiding large gatherings, third try to maintain 6 feet of distance. Always do things outside like we are doing right now and fifth is frequent hand washing,” Dr. Evans said.

Evans says Lehigh Valley Hospital System does have adequate resources to handle the COVID-19 cases — items like PPE.

“From a supply standpoint I think we’re better off this time than we were the last time around. The question really is how big is this surge going to be. If it’s bigger than the last one I think every hospital is going to be in trouble,” Dr. Evans said.

Dr. Evans says our region could be going back in time, to the spring, when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases.

“We are approaching that. I think for Luzerne County as a whole it may actually be exceeding that. For Hazleton, we were hit particularly hard back in the early spring. We’re not quite there yet but we could be in a few days,” Dr. Evans said.

Dr. Evans urged people to avoid large gatherings at Thanksgiving, he says they could be a virus spreader. 

For the latest case count updates, check out our PA Dept. of Health update page.

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