Weary healthcare workers struggle as Lehigh Valley’s hospitalized reach near peak

Written by on January 17, 2022

Weary health care workers struggle as Lehigh Valley’s hospitalized reach near peak

By Brittany Sweeney
January 17, 2022

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The pandemic is approaching the two-year mark and Lehigh Valley doctors are feeling the strain. 

Healthcare workers say they are working just as hard if not harder than they did when it all began, to help keep patients with severe cases of COVID-19 alive. 

Listen to the story.

Nurses and doctors are working overtime as the omicron variant takes out critical staff who themselves contract it, as people continue to pour into area hospitals. 

Although the variant tends to be more mild, people are still sick, said Dr. Timothy Friel, chair of the Department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

 “We still have a lot of individuals who are really, really sick with COVID-19,” Friel said. “We had a day in the last week where 10 people died in a 24-hour period in our hospital from COVID-19. These are numbers just like we were seeing over a year ago.” 

About 85% of COVID patients in the intensive care units right now are unvaccinated, Friel said.

When people come in, their vaccination status is the best predictor of what their outcome will be, he said.  

Right now, LVHN has more than 400 patients with the virus across its system, but Friel says that number appears to have leveled off in the last few days. 

Sign up for our WLVR weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania.


Current track