Doctors say to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands.By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As coronavirus cases begin to surge this fall, local hospitals are preparing for the worst.

Doctors say they’re seeing more patients in hospitals now than they have at any other point during the pandemic.

“We have the highest number of people in the hospital admitted with coronavirus than any time since the pandemic began,” said UPMC Senior Medical Director Dr. Donald Yealy.

Those numbers are rising. There are currently 192 coronavirus patients across the entire UPMC health system. There are 66 COVID-19 patients in Allegheny Health Networks’s hospitals and 44 hospitalized with the virus at Excela Health.

What do they all have in common?

“The difference at this point is the people are less severely ill, less ventilator use. But more people are showing up with coronavirus positive tests,” said AHN’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Don Whiting.

As more people with coronavirus are showing up in hospitals, those facilities are staying ready.

“Here at AHN, we have supplies to take care of a surge of 60 days or more. So we are prepared for the day-to-day, plus an additional surge that could last two to three months,” said Dr. Whiting.

“We are taking the lessons from other areas about how you deploy the people, the spaces, what kind of decisions you make about hospital care, and how it is you transition people on to other aspects of care,” said Dr. Yealy.

UPMC, AHN and Excela all said that they’re stocked up on PPE, ventilators and believe they have plenty of bed space. However, they say you can never be too ready.

“The question would be, do we need to open another space if we got so many patients where we’d need to have additional space?” said Dr. Whiting.

It’s unclear right now where that extra space would be if our hospitals fill up. Doctors say to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands. Also, get a flu shot.