Pennsylvania Allowing More Medical Procedures, Tests as COVID-19 Fight Continues

Important but not essential tests were delayed in the first weeks of the pandemic. Now, those medical procedures can resume

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Pennsylvania is allowing hospitals and surgical centers to resume some medical procedures as the state gets closer to reopening after weeks of fighting COVID-19.

Many Pennsylvanians were told to delay important, but not essential, procedures including colonoscopies, minor surgeries, blood tests and gynecological exams when the pandemic slammed into the state in March. State health officials needed to preserve staff and protective gear and did not want to risk spreading infection.

Now, with careful conditions, those procedures may resume. The state has been battling COVID-19 for months and is cautiously beginning to plan to reopen.

"We know that many Pennsylvanians have had to delay important elective procedures and operations," said state health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine at a press conference Monday. "But it was necessary to ensure that our health care system had enough capacity in case it became overwhelmed with patients who had COVID-19."

To restart elective procedures, the medical providers must ensure staff has enough personal protective equipment, staff and respirators to be ready not only for the procedures but also for any surge of COVID-19 cases that could come later.

The guidance follows that of many major medical associations, Levine said.

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