One of our local health networks is pleading with the community to step up to the plate, work together and help flatten the curve of recent coronavirus cases.

Officials with Lehigh Valley Health Network reached out to 69 News about the severity of the COVID-19 situation in the Lehigh Valley.

Dr. Timothy Friel, an infectious disease specialist at Lehigh Valley Health Network, joined 69 News live on Monday night.

He said we're at a critical point now to flatten the curve of cases.

"This is your chance to give back and work and stand with us in our efforts to quell unnecessary spread of this virus as we move forward," Friel said.

With Thanksgiving this week, he's hoping the network's outreach to the community is driving home the severity of the situation.

"We have seen significant increases in COVID-19 activity across the entire region we serve in the last 2 to 3 weeks. In the last 10 days, we have seen an almost doubling of the number of patients admitted to our hospitals," Friel said.

Now, they're turning to the community to buckle down, as the network is currently treating between 230-240 positive patients.

The hospital's peak was 264 back in March.

"We, right now within our hospital, have 120 patients who have been admitted to our hospitals, who still have the results of their test not back. So if we assume anywhere from 20-25% of those patients are positive, we will be over our record numbers within the next day or so," Friel explained.

In turn, health care officials say they're prepared, but they want the wiggle room.

"We have options for therapy. We have great options for care for those who are most sick, but we want to make sure that there's proper space, there's proper equipment, and all the needs that are necessary can be given to those individuals," Friel said.

As Thanksgiving is just two days away, a tempting time to get together with family and friends, Friel says make the right decision for yourself and others.

"We're doing this for ourselves, we're doing this for our communities, we're doing this for our loved ones who we don't want to get sick. We're doing it for all the businesses that we want to keep open, we're doing this for all the students who we want to keep in school," he said.

Friel says LVHN has a plan in place should the hospitals become overwhelmed, but he is urging the community to wear masks as what he calls a badge of honor, and continue social distancing.

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