Doylestown Health, consistent with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly supports having all unvaccinated children (which includes children under 12) use face masks in confined spaces in school buildings and on school busses. We want to preserve in-person classes for our students and protect the health and welfare of our community. We are closely following developments in school districts across the country that opened without mask mandates, and then closed down due to widespread COVID outbreaks.
Over the past four weeks, Doylestown Hospital has had increasing numbers of patients coming to our Emergency Department and COVID testing site with upper respiratory symptoms, and our COVID positivity rate is increasing. Our COVID test volume has returned to levels similar to last winter and spring, with a positivity rate in excess of 10% and climbing.
These emerging data patterns are similar to the prior COVID surges. Among our patients, vaccinated people are having much milder symptoms and fewer hospitalizations, while unvaccinated patients have much more serious illness and require more intensive treatment.
We support continued proactive efforts to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak among our most vulnerable populations, including unvaccinated adults as well as children who are ineligible for vaccination at this time.
Over the past 17 months, we have been vigilant about precautions that reduce transmission of disease, including use of facemasks, proper hand sanitizing, maintaining social distance, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated places and disinfecting surfaces after use.
By the fall of last year, these proven infection prevention measures had not only reduced the incidence of COVID cases, but also practically eliminated the seasonal flu and other respiratory disease spikes that predictably happen in the autumn and winter months.
As fall 2021 approaches, Doylestown Health remains firmly committed to the health and safety of our patients, our staff and our community. We continue to urge everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to reduce the likeliness of severe illness or hospitalization, and encourage all to follow proven protection measures including facemasks.