By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Coronavirus cases are surging nationwide and Pennsylvania tops the country with the most number of hospitalizations. Demand for the vaccine is slowing as concern increases about a holiday spike.

Officials are now pleading with people to take precautions. COVID-19 cases are tripling in many parts of the tri-state region as new vaccine mega-sites are opening.

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Pennsylvania again has the highest daily average number of COVID hospitalizations in the country, most in the central and western parts of the state. While our southeastern region isn’t as bad, Philadelphia has its highest daily case totals since the spring.

“There’s definitely concern especially with cases rising and hospitalizations going up,” Philadelphia health official Matt Rankin said.

More vaccination sites are opening at Philadelphia’s Waterview Recreation Center.

The FDA has expanded its emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot to 16 and 17-year-olds.

“It feels good to be safer,” a newly vaccinated resident said.

Doctors say booster shots are a key defense against the new omicron variant.

“At first we were skeptical about like do we need it or not? But once we heard there was another variant out there, there’s no taking chances,” another person added.

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In New Jersey, Burlington County opened a new vaccine mega-site with help from the state national guard.

The 14-day average for new daily cases in New Jersey cases is up 88% and hospitalizations grew 51%.

“We have seen our numbers rise pretty quickly in the last two weeks,” Dr. John Matsinger said.

In Delaware, cases are up 60% and hospitalizations have increased 66%.

“Unless we really double down on what we’re doing, we could see an increased spike that goes even higher than that as we go deeper into December and January,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Hospitals again are facing growing issues with increasing patient volumes, staffing shortages and burnout for now almost two years of fighting COVID-19.

“When other people were sent home hospital workers never went home, they’ve been in hospitals fighting this from day one,” Dr. John Matsinger said.

One of Pennsylvania’s largest health systems in the center part of the state says it ran out of beds because of COVID-19 patients.

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The situation is not as dire in our region. Hospitals are busy but not at capacity.

Stephanie Stahl