Pa. health officials brace for omicron variant with 4,500 already hospitalized

Written by on December 23, 2021

Pa. health officials brace for omicron variant with 4,500 already hospitalized

By Brett Sholtis
December 23, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. – About 7,600 people tested positive for COVID-19 each day over the past two weeks in Pennsylvania, with cases expected to increase as the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads.

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The rate of new COVID-19 cases is about the same as it was during the previous two-week period. It is 16 percent lower than it was a year ago during the winter surge that pushed hospitals to their limits. 

Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson noted that about 4,500 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 now, once again straining hospitals. 

Johnson says the omicron variant is expected to drive up cases as people travel and gather indoors for the holidays. She urged people to “be prudent” about their holiday celebrations.

“Mask up if you’re in public where there are indoor settings,” she said. “Even do a test, if you’re not sure.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccinated people likely will face much less severe infection. 

Health officials say the omicron variant makes up three quarters of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States. 

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