New cases of COVID are surging again in West Central Illinois, but that’s not translating into overcrowded hospitals this time around.
At home Covid tests are reportedly becoming harder to find on pharmacy shelves in the area due to the recent spike in cases.
President and CEO of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, Dr. Scott Boston says as a whole, medical science is certainly at a point where the disease process is much different than what it was at the start of the pandemic.
“Originally this was a disease that caused critical illness. People ended up in the ICU, on ventilators, and unfortunately as we all know there has been a lot of death caused by this disease. Really the disease process we are in now is very different. We’ve not had anybody in our ICU with Covid for about two months.
But the rates of Covid are skyrocketing. All the counties in West Central Illinois are rated as having high transmission by the CDC. But we’re really not seeing that translate into the hospitalizations, and the patients that do get hospitalized have a much lower severity of illness. They are usually just in the hospital for a couple of days and they do well and they recover.”
Boston says he believes the trend of less severe cases is caused by a combination of both vaccine immunity and natural immunity. “Where when people are contracting this virus they are able to mount an immune response and they have a much lower severity of illness. And in addition to that, we have treatments now where we didn’t when we first saw this disease.
We have the monoclonal antibody infusions, we have the oral medications like Paxlovid, and we have improved therapies that we can provide in the hospital as IV medications with things like Remdesivir. So it’s really a different process, and even though the community transmission is probably at an all-time high, it’s not translating into an overwhelming presentation of critically ill patients to the hospital.”
Boston says Jacksonville Memorial Hospital continues to recommend everyone be up to date on their vaccine. He says he believes the single most important thing to help reduce the severity of the illness is being vaccinated.
He says vaccinations are the backbone of keeping the community safe going forward.