Hospitals in Monroe County are ready for a second surge of COVID-19 cases.

As cases are starting to rise in some areas of Pennsylvania, the number of patients doctors are seeing locally remains low.

But they fear people may be letting their guard down. We’re told now is not the time to leave your mask at home.

LVH-P Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jonathan Goldner says, "This disease can kill you and people got to be very, very careful about it and it is out there. I see all the healthcare workers going to work every day and I worry about them."

Both Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono in East Stroudsburg and St. Luke’s Monroe Campus in Bartonsville report their amount of COVID-19 cases has remained very small over the past few months. But they’re monitoring the situation closely as they watch southern states battle surges now.

((Seiple))People are traveling and they need to be very careful when they travel and follow those measures in those areas. And then when they come back home, we do have a restriction as a state to self quarantine if you go to one of the 19 states that’s on the list.

And both hospitals are getting prepared in case they have that fight again here. They’re looking at what worked well and what didn’t from the last surge when they saw 70 percent of their patients having the disease. The key components are having enough staffing, equipment and PPE, and we’re told it’s all systems go.

((Seiple))I do believe whatever comes won’t be the same as it was initially and some of that is because I think the medical community has learned.

But we’re told testing has become a problem nationally. Not enough supplies and equipment is available for the amount of testing that’s happening on a larger scale. Our hospitals are experiencing a delay in results— instead of 24 hours, it’s a couple days.

Goldner says, "Looking for different ways to expand our testing supplies. We were making our own testing media, we were making our own testing swabs so we’re looking at all of things that we can rapidly increase our supplies."

We’re told wearing a surgical mask works in preventing the spread if everyone in the community participates.

Goldner says, "I’m just shocked at how many people  have their mask down around their mouth, not covering their nose and if it’s not covering your nose, it’s not doing anybody any good. It’s around their chin, it’s not on them at all. That’s the one thing that’s really found to make the most difference in stopping the spread of Covid."

That measure along with staying six feet apart and constantly washing your hands is what needs to happen to prevent a second significant outbreak.