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Emergency Rooms, Warming Centers Remain Steady as Region Readies for More Snow

Virtua reported an increase of over 50 percent at all hospitals and urgent care centers during the deep freeze and frigid ice on Jan. 10.

A winter held captive by freezing temperatures and frequent snowfall doesn’t appear ready to escape the relentless grip of Mother Nature this weekend.

The National Weather Service out of Mount Holly calls for between one and three inches of snow, with most accumulation during mid-day and early afternoon.

“Once again public works personnel are preparing to report for duty and go back out on the roadways to battle more snow in these frigid temperatures,” Camden County Freeholder Ian Leonard, liaison to the Camden County Department of Public Works, said in a prepared statement. “We are continuing to monitor the developing system in order to respond to any weather condition and keep Camden County’s roadways passable. In preparation all trucks are already loaded and ready to start treating the streets at the first sign of precipitation.”

More than 70 pieces of equipment are available to make county roadways safe for travel. If the weather becomes treacherous, personnel will be dispatched to 12 winter maintenance districts for salt and to plow about 400 miles of county roads, Leonard said. Crews will be dispatched only where needed, per the county’s response plan.

The preparation comes after a week in which a Code Blue was in effect due to cold weather. In Burlington County, the Code Blue was in effect every night this week.

According to Burlington County Spokesman Eric Arpert, 41 people took advantage of county warming centers over the last month, with many staying multiple nights in the centers. However, no statistics were available for this week.

“That number’s relatively the same as it’s been in the past,” Arpert said.

“I haven’t seen anything outrageous (relating to the weather in general). We’ve been pretty prepared, and I haven’t seen anything unusual, other than the weather.”

Gloucester County uses its six senior nutrition sites, nursing home and four library branches as warming centers, and didn’t record any increased use in those centers as it relates to the cold weather.

Camden County doesn’t keep track of those statistics on a countywide basis.

Virtua healthcare system wasn’t reporting any major increases in patients checking into the hospital with cold weather-related illness or injury on Friday, but the emergency rooms have been packed steadily throughout the winter.

All emergency rooms and urgent care facilities reported an increase of over 50 percent on Jan. 10, when single digit and sub-freezing temperatures brought significant ice to the region, according to Virtua Spokeswoman Peggy Leone.

“We saw an increase across the board that day,” Leone said. “Other than that, it’s been pretty typical.”

Virtua has hospitals in Voorhees, Marlton, Mount Holly, Camden and Berlin, and urgent care centers in Moorestown and Washington Township.

“Our emergency rooms continue to be active and busy with everything from cardiac arrest and weather incidents to colds and flu, and that’s across the board,” Leone said.

Freezing temperatures and ice are expected to be a problem through early next week, according to the National Weather Service.

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