Dr. Rai talks current state of COVID-19 in Northeast Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We’re seeing a small increase in cases of COVID-19, but not a rapid increase in severe illness.
Prevea President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai joined Action 2 News This Morning to give us an updated on the situation in our area and why it’s important to continue to stop the spread.
“We definitely are seeing a small increase in cases and you can see it on all of our graphs today that the total number of cases that are being reported are starting to slightly go up. What you’re not seeing is some underreporting here because some testing is happening at home that we’re not seeing reported. More importantly what you’re not seeing is a rapid increase in severe disease which would measured by those coming into the hospital.
“Although we’re seeing increased disease activity, that means COVID’s not gone, we’re not seeing it as severe as we have in the past. Usually we would by this point. We’d start to see cases rise and about a week or two later we’d start to see hospitalizations. Across the country, even in areas where cases are really rising, we’re not seeing that level of hospitalization we’ve seen in the past. That may be a good sign, but it’s too early to tell.”
“COVID’s still around and it’s important to prevent the spread, which means if you have symptoms get tested. Either a home test, which is that home antigen test, coming into your health care provider, the state of Wisconsin still has partnerships like Prevea where you can get tested for free. It’s important to get tested and if you’re positive to stay home for those five days, relax, get better and then go back into work or school. The most important thing is if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID, is to get tested. That will help us reduce the spread.”
“I’d say especially in our area it’s underused. Maybe it’s just a lack of education and us talking about it. If you’re say, over the age of 65, or you have underlying medical conditions like severe obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, you could qualify for treatment. Which means if you’re positive--tested at a medical facility, tested at a pharmacy, tested at home--it’s important to contact your health care provider and get in for treatment. The thing about treatments is we need to start it right away. So within that first five days. Some of those treatments are pills like paxlovid. We just need to get that prescription. There are pharmacies that have it in town. So it’s really important if you’re positive you contact us so we can get you treated.”
“It’s important to understand that the medical community still feels that masking is a good mitigation. Mitigation doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time. It’s when you need to to it. Obviously, not getting into the legal aspects of it, we’re starting to see an increase in cases, but we’re not starting to see an increase in severe disease. So right now, the masking may or may not be beneficial. It will definitely be beneficial in preventing spread. But right now, if the target of the country is, and that’s debatable, to prevent that serious disease, well let’s see what’s happening without the masks. Unfortunately we’re going to see that right now in public transportation, or fortunate depending what side you’re on, and we’ll have to see if we start seeing an increase in cases. What we have to understand is if we start to see this disease get out of control where we start to see hospitalizations then we’re going to need to mitigate and we may need to re-discuss masking at that point.”
“The people who should be getting boosted are the ones we’re worried about. We’ve got COVID in our community, there’s no doubt about that. We know that it can affect certain people and certain people can get very sick--those over the age of 50, especially those over the age of 65, those with underlying health conditions that affect their immune system, those are people that we really need to get to and get boosted right now. Although it’s going in our community and we could maybe consider this mild, it won’t be mild in those two populations. It’s really important to communicate to them, to get them boosted, and to make sure our hospitalizations don’t go up. And we start to understand how COVID works in the rest of the community and keeping everybody safe.”
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