COVID CORNER: News and updates pertaining to COVID-19
TINA L. SCOTT
• A Mar. 18 press release from Aspirus Health in Wausau indicates they’ve seen positive outcomes for patients treated with an experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment since November Aspirus Wausau Hospital. On Mar. 10, they treated their 300th patient and the results show only 4 percent of patients who received that treatment were later hospitalized. “This means that at least 48 additional hospitalizations were prevented based on the 17-20 percent hospitalization rate expected for this population,” the release said. “The treatment is an infusion therapy using a drug called Bamlanivimab and is intended for people with COVID-19 who are at higher risk for hospitalization or developing more severe symptoms.” The treatment is targeted for eligible patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and include: people age 65 and older, patients considered obese, and patients who have a chronic disease such as diabetes, kidney, lung or heart disease, hypertension, or any immunosuppressive disease. Johonna Asquith, MD, said, “We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that people with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to developing complications from COVID-19 that often require hospitalization. This treatment has been extremely effective in helping people manage their symptoms, deliver positive outcomes and even save lives.” The antibody treatment has now expanded to make this therapy available in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin Rapids, and Portage Aspirus Health locations.
• On Mar. 19, the Lincoln County Health Department reported that “an incident occurred on March 19, 2021, where waste occurred of 100 doses of the Pfizer COVID Vaccine. We want to be open and transparent that we had an incident when reviewing our batch of Pfizer vaccine that a vial of the vaccine was not properly prepared. We were not able to use the batch.”
“We know how important each vaccine is to our community. It is just as important to our staff,” stated Shelley Hersil, Health Officer for Lincoln County. “Our staff is heartbroken over this error. We have worked very hard to not have any vaccine wasted and will continue to do so. We have taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
According to the Health Department, Lincoln County has administered over 1,800 doses of Pfizer vaccine. The incident was reported to the Wisconsin Department of Health.