Already packed, hospitals brace for post-holiday surge fueled by omicron variant

Written by on January 3, 2022

Already packed, hospitals brace for post-holiday surge fueled by omicron variant

By Brittany Sweeney
Jan. 3, 2022

The gifts are unwrapped and the ball has dropped, but there is something left over from the holidays: the more transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Now, Lehigh Valley doctors are preparing for a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Listen to the story.

Valley doctors say there isn’t a hospital in the region right now that isn’t dealing with a large number of patients and staffing issues, as employees also get sick.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Jahre of St. Luke’s University Health Network says health care professionals are trying their best to handle a massive caseload under the circumstances. And that means prioritizing care.

“Prioritizing means taking care of the people who are sickest first, and that would mean inpatients and those who have symptoms, and who are most vulnerable to actually advancing to more serious consequences,” Jahre said.

Jahre says although omicron seems to be a more mild variant than Delta, omicron is more contagious and it’s infecting a lot more people. That adds to the burden hospitals are already facing.

Jahre says you may have to wait a lot longer than usual to be seen by a doctor if you’re sick, and he asks anyone coming to the hospital to be patient.

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