How long will the pandemic go on? Will there be a surge this fall?
– Expect a state of caution or altered normal for at least another year.
– Vaccines take time to create and test for safety.
– Coronaviruses tend to get worse in the colder months, so be careful during winter months.
– We are continuing to provide COVID testing to ensure proper care for those who contract the disease.
What can you tell us about the COVID vaccine?
– New York Times Vaccine Tracker
– There are 23 vaccines of varying types in phase 1, 14 phase 2, 9 in phase 3.
– Trials are time consuming to enroll participants, conduct the study, and observe results, so a vaccine likely will not be available until well into 2021.
Why aren’t as many patients admitted to the ICU now?
– Most of the people infected are younger and healthier.
– Older people or those with pre-existing conditions are practicing more caution, and thus are not getting sick and requiring high acuity care.
Should people get tested for antibodies?
– Only if your doctor recommends it!
– People recovered can get COVID-19 again very likely, as with other coronaviruses, but the immunity you may experience is very short-lived and you should maintain caution as you will be susceptible again in the future, and could be sicker the second time.
What are the treatments for COVID-19?
– Mostly repurposed medications that are preexisting are currently being used, which are already determined safe
– Steroids (inpatient only) to reduce the duration of the sickness
– Plasma (not sure on how effective these treatments are yet, but they are surely safe)
What are the lingering effects after recovering from COVID?
– Fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, chest pain, joint pain, cough, headache can be long-lasting beyond 3-4 weeks
– Risk for chronic issues:
– Ages 18-24 have 20% risk for chronic issues
– Those over 50, 47% risk for chronic issues
– Those who have preexisting conditions are more likely to have
– 1 in 5 people who contract the disease will have longer term consequences
When will the rapid COVID test be available and is it effective?
– It is available now at some locations in Washington, and they are quite effective when you’re symptomatic
– Not as effective if you are not symptomatic
– These will be available at Valley very soon
What advice do you have for families with kids returning to school?
– It is possible for a safe return to school, but it must be done right–must use masks, social distance, sanitize, and limit to small groups.
– Would take time to properly plan, and may be risky for older kids who might be more rebellious who may not comply.
Is it safe to travel right now? What about flying?
– It is reasonably safe to travel! Must take proper precautions.
– A person is unlikely to transmit or contract disease from sitting next to a masked person.
What are your recommendations for staying safe this fall as we move indoors?
– Keep using virtual visiting, maintaining social distancing, stay at home when possible and limit interactions.