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Hershey Medical Center has slight increase in coronavirus patients after seeing the fewest Thursday


Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center saw a slight increase Friday in the number of coronavirus patients it is treating — up 2, to 8.

Its total of 6 patients Thursday was the lowest since Penn State Health started releasing data March 30. The high is 22 on April 9.

Of the 8 coronavirus cases now at Hershey Medical Center, 3 patients are in intensive care, 1 more than Thursday. No coronavirus patients are on a ventilator, the same as Thursday.

The center has 7 patients under investigation for the coronavirus, 3 fewer than Thursday. It has discharged 97 coronavirus patients it has treated, the same as Thursday.

It has completed 5,692 tests, 124 more than Thursday, with 92 percent negative and 8 percent positive overall.

Also on Thursday, Penn State Health revised the number of coronavirus deaths in patients it has treated at Hershey Medical Center, reducing it from 5 to 4.

“In accordance with Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, Penn State Health initially reports deaths of persons under investigation for COVID-19 in our hospitals as COVID-19 positive deaths. Test results later determined that the death of a person under investigation at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is not attributable to COVID-19,” said Barbara Schindo, media relations specialist for Penn State Health, in an email after the Press & Journal requested clarification Thursday.

Hershey Medical Center reported its 5th coronavirus death Tuesday, a day after reporting its 4th. It reported its third death of a coronavirus patient May 6. A Penn State Health spokesman told the Press & Journal that he is unable to offer any additional details regarding specific patient cases or information about the deaths.

On April 25, the center reported its second death of a patient related to the coronavirus. The first Hershey Medical Center patient died from the coronavirus March 27. No details about the first two deaths were released either.

It is unclear which death is no longer considered related to the coronavirus. Schindo said she did not have any additional information to share.

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Penn State Health’s dashboard provides numbers for its two hospitals — Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health St. Joseph in Reading.

The numbers reported on the dashboard include two types of patients being cared for: patients with a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 and patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but do not yet have a confirmed positive test. Those patients are referred to as patients under investigation.

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St. Joseph has 17 patients being treated, 1 fewer than Thursday, and 1 under investigation, the same as Thursday. It has discharged 85 COVID-19 patients total, the same as Thursday. It reported its 14th death Thursday.

Of St. Joseph’s patients, 7 are in the ICU, 2 fewer than Thursday, and 4 are on ventilators, 2 fewer than Thursday.

In comparison to Hershey Medical Center’s high percentage of negative tests, St. Joseph has seen different results. Out of its 4,761 tests, 67 percent have been negative with 33 percent positive.

Penn State Health announced March 21 that an employee at one of its outpatient practices on the campus of Hershey Medical Center had tested positive for COVID-19.

Penn State Health is accepting drop-off donations of key supplies from the community at Penn State Health Center, 175 Crystal A Drive, Hershey.

Hershey Medical Center is open to treat all patients. The hospital has suspended non-essential surgeries and testing, put in place a restricted visitation policy and “has an incident command structure up and running with operational leaders guiding the organization’s preparedness and response efforts.”

Penn State Health Medical Group is consolidating a number of its physician practices across the region and plans to close others until further notice in response to the evolving coronavirus pandemic. The Penn State Health Medical Group location at 3100 Schoolhouse Road in Londonderry Township remains open.