COVID-19 treatment outlook
Community Hospital follows the National Institutes of Health’s guidelines on evidence-based treatments for COVID-19. Treatments range from management of symptoms to medications. Each patient’s treatment plan is individualized, depending on the complexity of their condition and any underlying health conditions. Very few of our COVID-19 patients so far have needed ICU-level care or ventilators.
We are still at a point in this pandemic where there are no FDA-approved and clinically proven treatments for COVID-19. At the present time, the standard treatment for COVID-19 is supportive care, which includes management of symptoms and use of supplemental oxygen when appropriate. There are numerous ongoing clinical trials to evaluate a large variety of possible treatments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval for some treatments that have shown promise in reducing the severity and mortality rate of patients with COVID-19. The treatments currently utilized for some patients include*:
A large amount of preliminary data suggests that Remdesivir is helpful and not harmful in the early treatment of many COVID-19 patients. The FDA has made the unprecedented decision to make Remdesivir available through an emergency use authorization (EUA). An EUA is not the same as FDA-approval, which requires more extensive review of large-scale clinical trial data. However, based on the encouraging preliminary data, the FDA moved to make the drug available as soon as possible to benefit patients.
Remdesivir is in limited supply and Monterey County hospitals work collaboratively using specific metrics to determine which patients would benefit the most from receiving this anti-viral drug. Current evidence indicates that patients who benefit the most from Remdesivir treatment are those with COVID-19 severe enough to be hospitalized and require supplemental oxygen, are early in the course of the disease and do not have major contraindications to the medication such as kidney or liver failure. Remdesivir is given intravenously and only in the hospital to those patients meeting the Monterey County hospitals’ criteria.
Early studies show that Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, has been seen to improve the condition of some patients with COVID-19. This steroid is widely available and utilized with many patients.
COVID-19 convalescent plasma
COVID-19 convalescent plasma may have benefits for some patients with COVID-19. Plasma is the liquid part of blood that contains infection-fighting antibodies. Plasma donated from those recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies that can be transfused into those sick with COVID-19 and may help them recover faster. Community Hospital is a registered site with the National U.S. COVID Plasma Expanded Access Program. Appropriately selected patients who may benefit from receiving a COVID convalescent plasma transfusion are enrolled in the program after discussing the relative risks and benefits with their treating physician.
Most patients can recover from COVID-19 with supportive care. This care can include supplemental oxygen, fluids, fever reducers, and other methods to reduce the effect of the symptoms on our patients. Remember, the majority of people with COVID-19 and no underlying chronic medical conditions will not need hospitalization and can care for themselves at home with over-the-counter medications.
These treatment plans can change and vary widely due to new evidence and best-practices as more information is known about treating COVID-19.
COVID-19 in our community resources
Learn more on our coronavirus informational webpage and also view COVID-related testing and inpatient data (including the number tested, deaths, and those hospitalized).