Mount Nittany Medical Center announced on Tuesday that it will resume some elective surgeries and procedures as the hospital continues to see a decline in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Some elective surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will resume while those that do require an overnight stay remain postponed through the end of January.
All safety protocols that had been in place, requiring testing of patients and scheduling of procedures will continue, according to Mount Nittany Health.
“The number of COVID positive inpatients is still quite high, and we have had to continue the long-term adjustments to surgical care for those needing an admission through January,’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nirmal Joshi said in a statement. ‘We continue to monitor on a daily basis, and we will make adjustments as needed to serve our COVID positive inpatients and those needing us for acute and surgical care.”
As COVID-19 hospitalizations soared last month, Mount Nittany announced on Dec. 30 that all elective procedures would be postponed through the end of January.
For the month of December, the medical center had 245 COVID-19 admissions, 102 more than a month earlier, with an average of 49 COVID inpatients per day. The daily census of COVID inpatients reached a high of 73 in late December and nearly half of the hospital’s patients were COVID-positive at the time.
But in January, Mount Nittany has seen a decline. As of Tuesday afternoon, the hospital had 42 COVID-19 patients, ages 28 to 99, with an average daily census of 44 COVID inpatients over the past week. That allowed the medical center to resume some procedures sooner than planned.
Joshi cautioned, however, that even with the decline in hospitalizations over the past week and the early phase of vaccine distribution, it is critical that community members continue to follow preventative measures.
“Even with vaccines gradually being administered, everyone needs to continue taking the precautions we’ve all been talking about: wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and avoiding large gatherings,’ he said. ‘It is impossible to predict how long COVID will be with us, what levels of infection we’ll see going forward, and how long it will take before most of the population can be vaccinated.”
Centre County reported 55 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and has added 863 since Jan. 1 for a total of 9,840 since the onset of the pandemic last spring, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.