As delta variant spreads, local doctor outlines best strategy to reduce case count

Written by on August 4, 2021

As delta variant spreads, local doctor outlines best strategy to reduce case count

By Brittany Sweeney

August 4, 2021

Photo | Brittany Sweeney / WLVR

The number of COVID-19 patients in most Lehigh Valley hospitals remains relatively low, but that number is rising thanks to the spread of the delta variant.  

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During the last few months Dr. Timothy Friel, chairman of the Department of Medicine at  Lehigh Valley Health Network, said there were times they had no COVID patients on ventilators.

But that has changed even though the numbers are still low compared to what they experienced last winter.  

Right now, they are in a race between COVID variants versus vaccinations, Friel said.  

“The best and most effective tool that we have to stop the spread of the delta variant, any of the other existing variants or any variants that we haven’t identified yet,” he said, “The best strategy we have is to get folks vaccinated.”

More than 97% of hospitalized patients they’ve seen are unvaccinated, he said. 

The goal has never been to eliminate new cases altogether, but to eliminate the number of hospitalizations or deaths from the coronavirus, he said.

The best way to reach that goal, he said, is to continue to get shots into arms.

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