Happy holidays to all! Last covid update for 2021! I’ll be real quick and just hit the highlights on local cases and omicron information.
Testing positivity: 5%
Fully vaccinated: 73%
Hospital beds used for covid: 20%
ICU beds used for covid: 30%
Testing positivity: 17%
Fully vaccinated: 55%
Hospital beds used for covid: 23%
ICU beds used for covid: 45%
Testing positivity: 14%
Fully vaccinated: 56%
Hospital beds used for covid: 15%
ICU beds used for covid: 36%
Local cases: significantly increasing in Southeastern Wisconsin and moderately increasing in Lake county. Please note though- all hospitals are very full and have been now for a few weeks. We don’t have 20% of beds to give to covid patients and it’s causing a real squeeze on us both in the hospital and in the ER. When there are no hospital beds, people sit in the ER for hours/days waiting for a bed to open. There have been a few days where we could not find open beds to take patients across a three state area. Our numbers are essentially back at where they were for last December’s peak for both local cases and hospitalizations. To have 1/5 of all hospital beds devoted to one diagnosis is a real problem for us. If you do end up in an ER for some reason, expect long wait times. By long I mean 4-8 hours (or more).
Hospitals are once again back to canceling elective surgeries. Elective doesn’t mean that those patients don’t really “need” the surgery, it just means they’re not going to die without it. There are still a lot of people waiting in pain, with chronic medical conditions who have been planning those surgeries and now we have to cancel them again.
I can’t accurately describe the feeling of the repetitive burn out we feel in the hospital right now. Burn out isn’t even the right word to describe it. It’s more like a cross between Ground Hog Day and The Edge of Tomorrow except nobody falls in love at the end and we haven’t saved the world.
Which brings me to my next mini point. Mental health has really taken a toll. It is really important to have a solid sense of gratitude at this time because while this situation is frustrating, filled with sacrifice and missed celebrations, it could actually be much worse. A little kindness and empathy goes a long way. I often have to practice this in the ER when we are overwhelmed every shift, but I remind myself that the patients have it tougher- often waiting for four hours, maybe in pain, maybe trying to entertain their kids or maybe sitting their with an elderly family member. If you are struggling with mental health lately, either from isolation or frustration, please reach out for support. Suicide is at an all-time high, so I am including the suicide crisis hotline number here (800-273-8255). It is vitally important that you reach out to someone if you are struggling today.
As far as a booster, get Pfizer, get Moderna- honestly just get something. Something is better than nothing. But if you have a choice, Moderna is a higher dose and showed less vaccine breakthrough overall so far. However, no need to be picky at this time.
So far the US data is showing that Omicron does have more vaccine breakthrough than Delta and is highly transmissible. We’re seeing that locally in our numbers as well with more people hospitalized who have been vaccinated than previously.
Our monoclonal antibody infusion (Regeron and others) are not effective against omicron, causing some hospitals to halt post exposure prophylaxis and treatment with them. This is because the monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that don’t include these key mutations that Omicron has, rendering them ineffective.
As with other times of surging cases, we have limited testing supplies at times and limited treatment supplies. Some tests are ineffective at picking up omicron and lead to false negatives (skim down below for more on that).
What does Omicron mean for holiday parties/family gatherings/ New Years? It means that everyone needs to decide for themselves what they’re comfortable with and what they can live with. Decide on what the downside/risk is, what you’re going to do about that risk and what the reward is. If you can live with the downside or it’s worth the reward you perceive, you’ve made the right choice for you. It’s definitely smart to do things we know help- limit food & drink sharing, limit time in crowded places without masks (i.e. Par-tays!), sanitize your hands, vaccinate, respect others' right to choose their level of mitigation efforts, and above all be a good human.
Some covid tests are unable to properly detect omicron due to its many mutations. Use of these tests as they can lead to a possible high rate of false negatives. The FDA is requesting these tests no long be used given that omicron is starting to dominate over delta. Read the entire article here: SARS-CoV-2 Viral Mutations: Impact on COVID-19 Tests | FDA
1)Linea COVID-19 Assay Kit: Manufacturer: Applied DNA Sciences
2)DTPM COVID-19 RT-PCR test -Manufacturer: Tide Laboratories, LLC. Places this test is being used: (so much for my short email):
1)Centennial State Lab - Golden Lab, Golden, CO
2) Centennial State Lab, Colorado Springs, CO
3) Community Health & Wellness, Atlanta, GA
4) Covenant, Bay St. Louis, MS
5) Crescent City Surgical Center, Metaire, LA
6) Dr. Douglas Mehaffie MD, LLC, Laplace, LA
7) Elite Diagnostics, Crown Point, IN
8) Flexsus, LLC, Columbus, OH
9) Harvest Labs, Inc, Crowley, LA
10) Health First Urgent Care, Richland, WA
11) Lab24, Redding, CA
12) Laboratory Specialists of Michigan, Dearborn, MI
13) Lakeside North Family Medicine, LLC, Guntersville, AL
14) Matthews Vu Medical Group, Colorado Springs, CA
15) Med Lake Laboratory LLC, Milledgeville, GA
16) Medlab, Inc, Buffalo, NY
17) Nibbana LLC, Tigard, OR
18) Nona Scientific, Tampa, FL
19) PCR-DX-AL, Tuscaloosa, AL
20) PCR-DX-CO, Fort Collins, CO
21) PCR-DX-GA, Gainesville, GA
22) Pinnacle Genetics Labs Inc, Miami, FL
23) PremierTox 2.0 Inc, Russell Springs, KY
24) QualiTox Lab, McKees Rocks, PA
25) Southern Immediate Care, Anniston, AL
26) St. Jude Laboratories, Columbia, MD
27) Stone Clinical Labs, New Orleans, LA
28) Stone Clinical Labs of FL, Freeport, FL
29) TF Medical LLC, Tuscaloosa, AL
30) Tide Laboratories, LLC, Fort Payne, AL
31) True Labs LLC, Coral Springs, FL
32) United Clinical Laboratory, West Palm Beach, FL
One last study for 2021- Covid infection decreases sperm count and quality. The JAMA study done shows genetic damage to sperm but also notes recovery at around 3 months on average. So intriguing that someone has chosen to study this topic…. But here we are, nothing is surprising anymore.
Sorry these emails are never short, I truly wish everyone has a good holiday season and a wonderful new year. Please stay healthy because it’s getting really hard to come to the ER or hospital lately.
Medlogic Primary Care