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Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center ER

The Health Department also reports over 6000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the commonwealth.

More than 1000 patients are in the ICU.

Nicole Fuschino spoke with an emergency room doctor in Cambria County Today to see how those numbers are affecting our region.

As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths soar across the commonwealth some local emergency rooms have been increasingly busy.

That’s according to Doctor Matthew Perry the Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.

“Our area was lucky in regards to case numbers and truly sick cases, or fatal cases until the past few weeks.”

He says those past few weeks Conemaugh has been on and off of diversion which means ambulances might be diverted to other hospitals if they reach capacity.

This doesn’t mean their doors are closed they still see walk in and critically ill patients.

But this is something that Doctor Perry says he’s never experienced before in his 10 years at the hospital.

“Our goal is not to be on diversion. We’re making every effort possible to not be on diversion, and continue to move patients from the emergency department, to the floor, to being discharged.”

He says heart attacks, strokes, and traumas haven’t gone away and adding covid into the mix leads to longer emergency room wait times.

“We’re aware there are increasing wait times. We’re aware that there’s more frustration from our patients we are working quickly, efficiently, as hard as we can, extra shifts, overtime. Whatever we need to do to manage the patients effectively and as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Perry says their staff is always looking out for each other and their patients working day and night to give them the care they need.

“We’ve been effected with physicians, residents and nursing staff that have contracted COVID, we’ve had others fill in and take on the roles, whether that’s extra work, or coming in on vacation time, or picking up extra shifts.”

He says they do have enough PPE like masks and they’re all looking for a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re staying as positive as we can. We know there has to be an end at some point. Hopefully sooner than later, but we’ll continue working together as one unit and we’ll get to the end eventually.”

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