Dr. Jack Horowitz, who runs the Newark clinic, welcomes the opportunity to participate. Since the pandemic began in Delaware 25 months ago with the first case at nearby University of Delaware, Newark has become a hub for testing in western New Castle County. Caregivers there administered more than 45,000 tests.
In an interview Wednesday, Horowitz said that in the first week, 298 tests were administered under the program. Of those people, 43 tested positive for coronavirus and 19 qualified for take-out medication. Fifteen received Pfizer’s Paxlovid and four Merck’s Lagevrio, also called molnupiravir. None of the 43 required immediate hospitalization, he said.
“The patient has the option of whether or not to accept treatment,” Horowitz said. “But if they accept, we give them this whole five-day course of antivirals on site at no additional cost. It is the government that pays. »
To qualify for the drugs, Horowitz said a patient “can’t be too sick or too well, which means if they have virtually no symptoms, we don’t recommend the drug. If they’re very, very sick and need to be hospitalized, they will be sent to hospital for a whole different battery of drugs We are looking for those type of patients, those type of criteria that have the disease and are at high risk of progression to disease severe. ”
This means that people with cough, fever or mild to moderate body aches are “at high risk of progression, and these relate to people with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, immunosuppressive asthma”.
The program is being launched in Delaware as the state and much of the country experiences a surge in COVID-19 infections. Over the past week, an average of 168 new cases have been identified each day, compared to 60 a month ago. This is a 167% increase, but pales in comparison to the roughly 3,500 infections per day in mid-January.
The current weekly positivity rate is 7.1%, more than double the number from a month ago.
A total of 37 Delawares are currently hospitalized, down from 19 on March 27, but less than the 44 a month ago. Rattay and other health officials attribute the relatively low number of hospitalizations – it was 759 in mid-January – to the fact that 95% of adult residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and others have some natural immunity to recent infections.