Officials in Montgomery and Delaware counties are sounding the alarm on COVID-19, warning that the surge is putting a strain on the hospital system.
In Montgomery County, health officials say parties, sleepovers and other social gatherings, including Halloween celebrations, have caused a surge in hospital cases.
"I think if we don't flatten the surge then our hospitals are going to quickly be in trouble," said Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
Delaware County officials are reporting a similar story. On Monday, they say all five hospitals were forced to divert patients elsewhere because they had reached capacity or did not have enough personnel to treat patients.
"The bottom line is that this is extremely concerning. Our essential emergency service and health care workers are being strained," said Delaware County Council Chairman Brian Zidek.
Health officials say there are many people out there who have the virus but are asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading it to others.
How close are we to a lockdown?
"Our goal is to avoid a lockdown at all costs, we know what that looked like," said Chester County Health Director Jeanne Casner.
"We need to realize that this is a wake-up call. None of us want to be put back into the red phase," said Delaware County Council Vice-chair Dr. Monica Taylor.
The Montgomery County Office of Public Health said they will now vote Friday at 12 p.m. on whether to start two weeks of virtual-only school beginning November 23.
The vote was originally scheduled for Thursday morning.
Delaware County is offering free COVID-19 testing to county residents ages 12 and older on November 14, 16 and 17 in Upper Darby and Upland. Insurance is not required.
Results will take up to 48 business hours. Residents will be contacted by the phone number provided on the registration form.
Residents can call Delaware County's Department of Intercommunity Health at 610-891-6129 with any questions.
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