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Hershey Medical Center's number of coronavirus patients up again, getting near its highest total


Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s number of coronavirus patients jumped again Thursday, up 4 to 18.

Its total of 6 patients last Thursday, May 14, was the lowest since Penn State Health started releasing data March 30. But now it is nearing its highest total, which is 22 on April 9.

Of the 18 coronavirus cases now at Hershey Medical Center, 6 are in intensive care, 1 more than Wednesday. Two coronavirus patients are on a ventilator, the same as Wednesday.

The center has 9 patients under investigation for the coronavirus, 2 more than Wednesday. It has discharged 107 coronavirus patients it has treated, 2 more than Wednesday.

It has completed 6,602 tests, 181 more than Wednesday, with 93 percent negative and 7 percent positive overall. That’s 1 percent more negative tests than Wednesday and 1 percent fewer positive tests.

Also last Thursday, May 14, Penn State Health revised the number of coronavirus deaths in patients it has treated at Hershey Medical Center, reducing it from 5 to 4. It is still reporting 4 as of Wednesday.

Hershey Medical Center reported its 5th coronavirus death May 12, 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.

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.

St. Joseph has 15 patients being treated, 2 less than Wednesday, and 1 under investigation, 2 fewer than Wednesday. It has discharged 93 COVID-19 patients total, 1 more than Wednesday. It has reported its 18 deaths, the same as Wednesday.

Of St. Joseph’s patients, 5 are in the ICU, 3 fewer than Wednesday, and 3 are on ventilators, 2 fewer than Wednesday.

In comparison to Hershey Medical Center’s high percentage of negative tests, St. Joseph has seen different results. Out of its 5,278 tests, 69 percent have been negative with 31 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.