Amid COVID-19 surge, Pottsville hospital transfers patients; school reevaluates expanded in-person learning | News

A spike of COVID-19 cases in Schuylkill County has hit Pottsville’s hospital, while the school

A spike of COVID-19 cases in Schuylkill County has hit Pottsville’s hospital, while the school district is re-evaluating its plan to increase in-school learning next week in light of the climbing numbers.

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill has reported several positive COVID-19 cases among staff members, according to a statement from William “Bill” Reppy, president. The statement issued Tuesday evening said the hospital is making adjustments while the infected employees are in quarantine.

Further, Reppy said, following protocol, the hospital “has transferred some patients to other Lehigh Valley Hospital Network locations to ensure continuity of care.”

He said the hospital remains open and is accepting new patients.

Between Saturday and Monday, Schuylkill County COVID-19 cases rose by 53, and another 20 were added Tuesday, taking the total to 1,297. The number of deaths in the county is at 58.

Meanwhile, the Pottsville Area School District is monitoring data on COVID-19 in the county to determine whether to expand from two to four days of in-person learning.

On Tuesday, Acting Superintendent Jared Gerace said administrators and the district’s pandemic planning team are evaluating information daily and would meet today with Schuylkill County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) officials to determine the relevance of county cases to the school community. He said families would be informed of changes to the dates for four-day in-person instruction Wednesday.

“They’re trying to look into the numbers based on what’s in their pandemic response plan and make a decision based on the most recent data on positivity rates and rates of transmission,”¬†EMA Coordinator John Matz said following the morning session with school officials.

School board members voted last month to transition from two to four days of in-person education for students starting Monday for students at John S. Clarke Elementary Center and Oct. 26 for those at D.H.H. Lengel Middle School and Pottsville Area High School.

The district has operated on a blended learning model, with students in school two days a week for in-person instruction and learning online the other three days.

Gerace did not immediately return a call for information today on whether the transition would be delayed.

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