Covid treatment has changed over the years. How they are treating it now in the County.

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 12:59 PM EST
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - Since the Covid 19 pandemic first started, a lot has been learned in how to treat it. Some medications are more available, others aren’t being used as much.

Kris Doody, the CEO for Cary Medical Center says, “So I think the important thing to remember with Covid is we learned a lot from the very first day that it started and more, so as time went along, of what was working, what was not working. And just because some things changed doesn’t mean that those first treatment options weren’t good options. They were the best options at that time. But we learned along the way. And are things evolving? Absolutely, and it depends on indications which your physician can assist you and whether or not you meet the indications to receive treatment once diagnosed with Covid. But it would be on a case by case basis that again, we receive guidance from the C d C and make modifications as the best guidance is provided to.”

Dr. Stephanie Gillis, the Director of Primary Care at Northern Maine Medical Center says, “And speaking to your question, Kelly, one of the changes in the treatment, specifically the monoclonal antibodies that we used to do infusions with are we’re not using those anymore for the current variants since we have. Different variants that are the predominant strains in our areas. And so that infusion that you might have gone in for a year ago is not an option at this point. But we do have other oral antivirals in other treatments that can be used for those patients in the outpatient setting. And there are still several treatment options for the inpatient setting as well. And those are something that likely, as Kris mentioned, more information comes, we learn more, we test different things, we gain more information. So those might be shifting and changing all along the way as we learn and develop even better strategies for treatment.

Doody adds, “Yeah I’ve been even stopped at the grocery store and said, you know, how come I didn’t get that infusion? You know, like my neighbor received a year ago when she was diagnosed with Covid. And the guidance changes and, you know, we make changes as recommended and also what is available because there have been different times in the last few years, that part of the issue is just availability of the medication and having to prioritize based on that availability.

Dr. Brian Griffin, the Chief Medical Officer for Houlton Regional Hospital says, “The home test is very good. If you’re positive, you’re positive. So if you get a positive home test, that’s going to be enough for anyone, any medical professional to feel comfortable prescribing it. So, yeah, I absolutely would contact your PCP or whatever, and they would more than likely be able to prescribe that without actually having to see you.”

Gillis says, “And I know what we’ve done here at Northern Maine Medical, a lot of times patients will test themselves and they’ll call in, we’ll do a tele-health visit with them. With Paxlovid, there are a lot of medication interactions or drug drug interactions, and so that’s something that’s really important to have that discussion with your doctor. And go through the pros and cons and whether or not this might be a good option for you. And it really is a case by case basis, but it’s something that is like Dr. Griffin said, the home tests are excellent and so if you’re positive, you’re positive. And so we feel very comfortable treating based on that and not making patients come in for a second test.”