MUSC Health physician: COVID-19 patient demographic changing as treatments evolve

Coronavirus

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) — An MUSC Health physician says he has watched COVID-19 patient demographics and treatments evolve as the pandemic wares on.

“What we’re seeing now is a shift in who’s getting sick and who’s coming to the hospital,” MUSC Health Florence Medical Center Medical Director of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control Dr. Temujin Chavez said. “Now we’re seeing more widespread community disease. I’m seeing many people in their 30s and 40s and 50s. I had a patient a week ago who was 18.”

He compared that to earlier on in the pandemic, when patients were more commonly travelers or could be traced to a specific outbreak.

“Before I would generally see people at an older age who had comorbidities,” Dr. Chavez said. “And they would come in cluster outbreaks or defined contacts. Now the disease is so widespread that we’re seeing a large spread of ages.”

He also said that treatment has evolved ‘greatly’ over the past few months, explaining that some clinical trials are closing.

“Those trials have closed because we’ve gathered enough people to get evidence that certain treatments work and certain treatments don’t work,” he said. “Now as a doctor, I’m focusing on each patient and how the available treatments  can work for them.”

Dr. Chavez pointed to specific treatments like Remdesivir, Dexamethasone and convalescent plasma.

He said that many are being proactive when it comes to being tested and communicating potential exposure to others, which helps get treatment to patients sooner.

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