Omicron Strain (COVID UPDATE)
A Message From CRNA’s Medical Director, Dr. Marc Dumas
Good day everyone,
We have been fortunate up until recently with regards to our ability to respond to active COVID-19 infections. The medications, specifically monoclonal antibody infusions, have been very effective at keeping the illness mild and preventing the infection from progressing and leading to hospitalization or death.
Unfortunately, that has changed. More specifically, the COVID-19 virus has changed. The new Omicron variant simply does not respond to the medications as did the previous Alpha and Delta variants. And worse yet, the Omicron variant now makes up more than 90% of all cases being seen in Alaska. Most medications that we currently have available to us simply don’t work for Omicron. At all.
That said, there are medications that do work against the Omicron variant. These not only include specific monoclonal antibody infusions, but also a medication that can be taken by mouth while at home. Unfortunately, these new medications are not widely available. The federal government is doing everything they can to ramp up production and distribution of these medications, but it will be at least one to two months before they are widely available.
What this means is that we will likely not have any medication to give most patients who have been become infected with COVID-19 for the next few weeks. For this reason, relying on monoclonal antibody infusions in lieu of other protective measures is not the best strategy for dealing with COVID-19.
As always, the best way to address a COVID-19 infection is by being fully vaccinated to include recommended boosters. Although breakthrough infections do occur, they are almost always mild. Vaccines reduce the likelihood of being hospitalized and death by up to 20 times. Vaccines are safe, effective, and free.
Please understand that we are doing everything in our power to acquire these new medications. In the meantime, please get vaccinated and/or boosted, wear masks, socially distance, and wash your hands. Stay well.
Learn more about CRNA’s Medical Director, Dr Marc Dumas – Click Here to View His Bio
Good day everyone,
Updated regional cases in coordination with MSTC and CRHM, we have approximately 18 additional confirmed cases this week.
In total for the last 3 weeks we have likely had more than 50 confirmed cases through out our region. It’s hard to say how many more have gone untested, but there is certainly more cases existing than we know about.
CRNA continues to offer testing and vaccination to meet the region’s needs. Call 822-5241 to schedule an appointment.
We advise anyone that believes they have been exposed or experiencing symptoms to stay at home and contact their provider for further recommendations.
Jim Godin, Director of Healthcare Quality and Accreditation
[email protected] | (907) 822-5241
As a stakeholder in our region, we wanted to urgently share updated information with you, as well as express our continued willingness to support your COVID-19 health needs.
In coordination with MSTC and Cross Roads Health Ministries, we can confirm a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in our region. There are approximately 25 to 30 confirmed cases throughout our region in the last 2 weeks. We cannot confirm the prevalence of the delta variant.
Our region has set a high standard within the State for accessibility of testing. CRNA’s Primary Care and Testing team has been working at capacity to address testing needs. Based on resource restrictions and manufacturer testing requirements, we are currently not able to immediately test everyone requesting a test. Unlike our testing operations earlier in the pandemic, we are no more restricted to a short timeframe in which a test must be processed.
Our team is appropriately triaging requests for testing to ensure proper and sustainable use of testing resources. In an effort to communicate this, we ask you to pass this information to others when you have the opportunity. Your patience and understanding will go a long way in ensuring the success of our efforts.
Getting tested immediately is usually not the best strategy, it takes time for symptoms and testing conditions to develop. Regardless of testing availability or symptoms, individuals that believe they have been exposed should be prepared to stay at home for a period of up to 14 days. We recommend utilizing resources from CDC and contacting a provider for more detailed guidance. We encourage high-risk individuals and elders who have had direct exposure to immediately notify their provider to develop appropriate testing or case management strategies.
We remind you to take it upon yourself to be diligent in practicing proper hygiene, social distancing, and mask-wearing.