Our offices remain open during this most recent spike in COVID cases and we are here to care for you and your family. In fact, we are adding new patients at an unprecedented rate as the community seeks the level of support you’ve come to expect from us. We appreciate your confidence and trust.
As you might expect, we are getting many calls regarding the rapidly changing COVID environment. To help navigate the most up-to-date information regarding the recent wave of COVID infections, you may find the below resources helpful in the event you or a loved one gets exposed or tests positive for COVID.
The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has rapidly increased in prevalence and now makes up >90% of the cases in Orange County. While Omicron appears to spread faster than previous variants, it may be less likely to cause severe pulmonary disease. Because there are still Delta variant infections in the community, and it is often difficult to distinguish from Omicron it is very important to monitor blood oxygenation if you do get COVID. This can be done using a simple, finger clip-on device available at most drug stores known as a pulse oximeter. Vaccination remains a very important part of prevention of severe disease and death.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DO GET INFECTED
We recommend a simple checklist which includes:
- Inform your doctor you have tested positive
- Isolate yourself from others and wear a well fitted mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Check and monitor your oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter, target numbers above 95
- Take daily supplements including Zinc and Vitamin D
- Keep in contact with your physician regarding your symptoms, oximetry below 95% or any worsening shortness of breath
The CDC website also has reliable information about what to do in the event you test positive for COVID and are infected.
Testing is an important part of keeping you and others safe. There are several testing options.
Rapid Antigen Testing can be used to help determine if you have COVID. Rapid Antigen tests are available over the counter and can be purchased online or at pharmacies. We recommend you start by confirming your infection is COVID by using one of these simple, self-administered tests at home. Even if the Rapid Antigen test is negative, monitor your symptoms and avoid contact with others until your symptoms resolve. If they worsen, contact your doctor about retesting, perhaps with PCR.
Here is a CDC Overview on what types of testing are helpful and when to use them.
Hoag Concierge Medicine members have access to same-day (drive-up) testing if they need it, virtual appointments, and access to connect with their physician directly by mobile and texting.
Patients’ Monoclonal antibodies have been a critical treatment option for COVID infections in patients who are not hospitalized. Monoclonal antibodies effective against Omicron are in very limited supply. Unfortunately, there may be less efficacy of the major monoclonal antibodies against the Omicron variant. Thus, if you do not have severe symptoms it may make sense to bypass this treatment. Each case is different so please discuss this with your physician.
There are exciting new treatments recommended by the CDC which will be available in the near future. One new option which is available in limited supply is Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use). This was just approved by FDA-EUA on December 22, 2021 for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID symptoms in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds) who tested positive for COVID and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID symptoms, including hospitalization or death. Another oral treatment is Molnupiravir which was approved for emergency use (EUA) by the FDA on December 23, 2021 for those 18 years or older; however, it should not be used in pregnant or breastfeeding patients. Special precautions are also needed for those who are able to become pregnant.
Information about COVID, new variants and treatments continue to change daily. Our goal is to keep you informed as new information becomes available.
We are here to help you make the best decisions for you and your family. Please contact our office if we can be of assistance.
Your Hoag Concierge Medicine Team