St. A Lawrence County doctor describes the endemic phase of COVID-19

Dr. Andrew Williams is President of St. Petersburg. Lawrence County Department of Health. Screenshot from Zoom

The latest COVID-19 seems to be retreating in the Northern Country, where the level of positive testing in the region is gradually declining. This did not lead to increased hospitalization and the growth of the previous coronavirus, which was fatal.

Dr. Andrew Williams, St. The Lawrence County Health Council said we were elsewhere in the pandemic.

“We are now in a better position because of vaccinations, because of the natural immunity that is being formed in society,” Williams said. “Now we have these oral therapies.”

Dr. Andrew Williams on how COVID-19 can be endemic

According to Williams, public health leaders are “changing their teeth” to focus on people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19. He told David Sommerstein that it included an attempt to spread antiviral therapy drugs. Their conversation was easily edited to make it clear.

DR. Andrew Williams: In some parts of New York State, they have developed a method called “testing and treatment,” which has pharmacies or clinics designed for rapid testing. [anti-viral therapy] to treat.

Unfortunately, these resources are not available in this area of ​​New York State. Therefore, people should be tested on their own or tested at a testing center and then see a primary care physician. The Northern Public Health Center is designed to treat people without primary care, so people can contact the health center for this purpose.

David Sommerstein: Do you, as a medical professional, think that we are moving more towards the endemic part of COVID, where people become infected with COVID and it is a part of normal life and we have ways to treat it?

WILLIAMS: I think this is correct. I mean, there is a lot of discussion about the transition from pandemic to endemic. I think we made this transition. I don’t think COVID will disappear. The virus appears to develop these sub-variants that evade natural immunity or, to some extent, vaccine-based immunity.

So I don’t see COVID going away and unfortunately I think it’s part of our daily lives and another disease that we as doctors need to define. Now, fortunately, we have access to treatment for people at high risk.

SOMERSTEIN: A number of testing sites in St. Petersburg have closed stores in Lawrence County and the Northern Country because there were not enough people to take the test. These are PCR tests, quality tests. How important is testing now? What does it mean that all these places are closed?

WILLIAMS: In terms of testing, what we see is the evolution of the pandemic, which is now endemic, with very little testing at first. We then worked very hard with our local medical community to make high-quality rapid testing available. Then the house test went to the scene.

I’m sure what we’re seeing right now is that most people with symptoms are at least first tested at home. So this is an important factor. This is another important factor because we try to understand the amount of work in the community.

SOMERSTEIN: Well, I would say, perhaps because of the home test, there may have been significantly fewer reported cases.

WILLIAMS: For sure. I think a number of people develop symptoms and are tested at home, and I think most of them are doing some kind of isolation. But often they do not report this test to public health. Therefore, we cannot share this information with the public. Therefore, we do not understand exactly how many moments there are in society.

SOMERSTEIN: What do public health officials say we should do now? More masking. more testing? What is the most important thing people with COVID need to know?

WILLIAMS: In my opinion, the most important thing is to pay attention to people in society who are at high risk of serious illness. So, whether it’s because of their old age or because people with diabetes or weakened immune systems are unable to fight infection, high-risk people really need to work to protect themselves. And those who interact with them should also pay attention to them.

I think I will make another plan. So, for people at high risk, they should talk to their health care provider and tell them how to get tested quickly if I get COVID and how to get oral medication. [anti-viral drug treatment] to be treated in time and not hospitalized?

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