HORRY COUNTY S.C. (WBTW) — COVID-19 numbers are up in hospitals, but not as bad as last summer, according to organizations.
Conway Medical Center officials have noticed a slight uptick in hospitalization for the virus over the last month, but said it’s nothing compared to prior years.
CMC COVID-19 inpatient data this year shows that COVID-19 inpatient numbers went from roughly four people every other day in June to roughly nine every other day in July.
“We’re not seeing patients as sick as we did previously, and what I mean by that is we’re not seeing the level of ICU care,” said Paul Richardson, the CMC chief medical officer. “We’re not seeing patients requiring ventilator support, and that kind of thing.”
Richardson said while he hasn’t gone back and compared all of the Julys during the pandemic to see if there was a trend, he does know inpatient averages were completely different last year compared to this year.
DHEC officials said while they do anticipate COVID-19 being a seasonal type of virus, they aren’t sure yet what those seasons will be.
“Or whether it will even be as high of a peak each year is still to be determined and some of that will also be based on the mutations that occur because the mutations and the virus don’t necessarily follow a calendar and so new variants can be produced at different times,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC public health director.
Traxler said the Paxlovid pill is now the most commonly used treatment for COVID-19.
Traxler said there’s only one monoclonal antibody that’s still effective against the subvariant BA.4 and BA.5, so now there’s an emphasis on using the oral treatment options.
Traxler said people have access to Paxlovid across the state. However, is it not in every pharmacy.
She encourages people who are at high risk of getting the disease should talk with their health care provider who will then prescribe the pill if it’s a good fit for the person.
“Certainly it is not indicated right now for just anyone,” Traxler said. “What it has been shown to do is to decrease the risk of severe disease in people who are at increased risk of severe disease.”
Traxler said there are some pharmacies that are able to prescribe and provide the medication through a pharmacist test and treat method as well.