Pennsylvania sets ground rules for suspension of elective procedures


The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a state order that will delay elective procedures in regions that meet certain surge criteria. 

The order was issued Nov. 23 and took effect Nov. 30. Hospitals will have to delay elective procedures if their defined region meets two of the following three criteria: 

  • If a third or more of the hospitals in the region anticipate a staffing shortage within the next week
  • If the moving average of COVID-19 admissions is increasing by more than 50 percent over two days 
  • If more than 90 percent of staffed beds, not including intensive care unit beds, are expected to be occupied over three days

Philadelphia hospitals and physicians supported the ban, but worried that reducing elective procedures may not free up beds to treat COVID-19 patients because the procedures are largely outpatient, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased from 1,267 Nov. 1 to 4,405 Nov. 30, according to COVID Tracking Project data.

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