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Covid Brief Oct 7 - Cases trending downward

    After weeks of battling the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, cases are trending downward -- a little bit.
    Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital was on Thursday morning’s Covid Brief discussing the local trends:
    “We have hopefully seen what it looks like to be a leveling off of COVID positive patients and testing. We currently have three individuals hospitalized with COVID and in the last week we had three new admits, and that's really down compared to July and August,” Ferraro said. “So happy to see that trending downward.”
    Ferraro said the testing figures coming out of SPH have been going in the right direction as well.
    “We collected 710 tests swabs in the last week. And of those 49 were positive. That puts us at a 7 percent positivity rate,” Ferraro said. “So that's our third week in a row that we're at a single digit positivity rate. So that's trending in the way we want to see. In the last week we gave 38 outpatient monoclonal antibody infusions. That might've been our one of our busiest weeks during the Delta surge.”
    Since getting a monoclonal antibody infusion requires a doctor’s referral, Ferraro said the high demand indicates a lot of patients are staying in touch with their primary health provider.
    Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carroll said nationwide infection, hospitalization and death trends are down by up to 20 percent in the past two weeks, but points out Alaska is still in the red zone.
    “We're still a hotspot in regards to COVID-19. Statewide where we're almost entirely remaining in the red alert zone, but cases are only up 2 percent from the last two weeks. We're starting to see some hints that might suggest a downturn in the future. We just don't know when, and we don't know to what magnitude,” Carroll said. “Hospitalizations are down about one fifth or 20 percent here in the state as compared to a couple of weeks ago. But ICUs are still backed up. So ANMC, Prov and other ICUs are closed for taking additional people.”
    Last week the state of Alaska announced it was activating the option for hospitals to enact emergency standards of care, as some already have. Ferraro explained how the order affects SPH.
    “So I wanted everyone to understand that although South Peninsula Hospital's name was on that list, what that meant was that we were signing on as part of a unified response to the growing, somewhat overwhelming, demand for healthcare statewide, specifically to South Peninsula Hospital,” Ferraro said. “All this does is align us with the rest of the hospitals that signed on. It makes sure that we're all using a unified framework in in those moments when we do have scarce resource situations.”
    She said the hospital has not yet enacted any crisis standards of care, and that the medical staff ethics committee will serve as the crisis care committee if the need arises.

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