A big drop in the number of active COVID-19 patients being treated at The University of Kansas Health System today. 89 people with the active virus are hospitalized, down from 100 yesterday. 46 patients are in the ICU, down from 48 yesterday. 28 of those ICU patients are on ventilators today, down from 29 yesterday. 68 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, up from 59 yesterday. That’s a total of 157 patients, down from 159 yesterday. In addition, HaysMed has a total of 37 COVID-19 inpatients, up from 32 yesterday, with 25 of those active patients and 12 in the recovery phase.
Doctors say the numbers suggest activity from about two weeks ago, before Thanksgiving. They’re more worried about what things will look like in a week, which will reflect what happened over the holiday weekend.
On the Morning Media Update today, we went inside the infusion clinic where the first doses of the monoclonal antibody Bamlanivimab are being given to patients. Shannon Schroeder is the Infusion Therapy clinic manager and she explained how the infusions work and who qualifies for them. During the update, we met Paul Van Erem, a patient with COVID-19, who was the 13th to receive the monoclonal antibody Bamlanivimab at a health system infusion clinic. Shannon Schroeder explained how the process works and hopes to be able to treat 8-9 patients a day. She stressed that you must receive the treatment within the first seven days of symptoms, so it’s vital to be tested early. She described the criteria used to screen patients for this outpatient treatment, which takes about two hours, and said right now it’s only available to established patients in the health system. She added that patients are kept separate from others in the clinic, using a private entrance and exit. She says so far, all of the patients have been hopeful for early relief from their symptoms, and grateful for the opportunity.
Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, had a stark assessment of the new CDC quarantine criteria, which lowers the suggested time to 7-10 days from 14 days. He calls it “potentially dangerous,” and explains why. As for the upcoming vaccines, he says it’s OK for the general public to be a little reluctant. But he urges everyone to look at the readily available scientific data for themselves. He believes that will reduce any hesitancy to get vaccinated. He also says the Bamlanivimab infusion has the potential to keep a lot of people out of the hospital. But he says it’s important to remember that just because these therapies exist, it’s a bad idea to ignore the pillars of infection prevention and risk getting COVID-19.
Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at the health system, pledged to get his COVID-19 vaccination live on the Morning Media Update as soon as it’s his turn in order to show his confidence that it will be safe and effective. He says it’s interesting that those who don’t want to believe the science behind wearing masks have no problem with seeking treatment for the virus. He stresses the science won’t lead you astray, and the same science behind mask wearing is the same science that’s bringing monoclonal antibody treatment and vaccinations. He says by being dedicated to the principals of infection prevention and devoted to those you love, we can bend this curve again.
Friday, December 4 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Media Update. We know that this is the holiday season and a lot of you want to shop. We know local merchants need you to shop. We are going to hear from some local merchants on creative ways they are working to keep everyone safe and stay open. We'll also hear from the KCK Chamber of Commerce. And, one of our nurses who cares for COVID-19 patients shares a gripping story.
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