The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Covid-19 update:

Wahkiakum case load hits 10; the uptick is underway

 

October 22, 2020



Wahkiakum County’s positive case count for covid-19 went up to 10 over the past week, with 643 tests having been conducted so far.

Cowlitz County has had 779 cases, with 173 considered active. They have 115 confirmed cases and three probable in Pacific County, with 10 considered active. Across the river in Clatsop County, they are up to 234 cases, with 13 considered active, and in Columbia County they have had 233 cases, with 15 currently infectious.

“We’re starting to experience another uptick in cases for the planet, things going not swimmingly everywhere,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said. “The United States is over eight million cases now.”

“Essentially every county around us is having person to person spread,” Bischoff said. “So it is live and moving around in counties around us. When you leave Wahkiakum County, you are entering a county that has active spread of covid-19. That is one thing to keep in mind when we think about how uncomfortable our masks are.”

Wahkiakum picked up new cases on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday last week, and investigations are largely concluded, Bischoff said.

“Anybody that needed to be contacted, was,” Bischoff said. “At this point there was no tie-in to either the school or St. James (Family Center) that we can find. There are admittedly a couple near misses, there was good separation there, so we don’t think there is any impact there at all.”

All three cases were exposed outside of the county, according to Bischoff. One is believed to have come out of Cowlitz County, another out of Clark County, and the third in Portland.

“Due to the investigations, that’s largely what we are concluding,” Bischoff added.

Bischoff said that in two cases, their significant others have tested negative.

“We think that those are fairly contained in those three cases, there is still one spouse and some family members that we may be concerned about, but they are all quarantining together so even if those do turn into cases, we don’t expect any increased risk from those because they are already doing quarantine,” Bischoff said.

Treatments

Bischoff talked about antivirals, or treatments that fall under the category of “blocking the virus./”

“One general word about antivirals: The idea for a long time has been to either vaccinate, which keeps from virus from taking off in the body, or to treat the symptoms,” Bischoff said. “Antivirals are the third approach. Newer in that they haven’t worked great to this point. The antiviral is an actual attack on the virus. Right now, none of them appear to be that good at it.”

Remdesivir is approved for use, Bischoff said. It is working best in people that are about sick enough to go to the hospital but are probably not going to succumb. It sort of increases healing time.

“Remdesivir is helpful but not as helpful as we had hoped,” he said.

Favipiravir and Molnupiravir are closely related. These two, and Remdesivir try to mess with RNA, Bischoff said, hoping to make it impossible for virus to replicate, but they all do it a little differently.

Remdesivir inserts junk RNA into the genetic sequence, which keeps the virus from replicating. It intends to kill the virus that way. Favipiravir tries to block the actual copying of the genome, and slow it down. Molnupiravir helps insert random errors.

“Anytime you copy a genetic sequence, there is always errors in there,” Bischoff said. “Most biological systems have mechanisms to reduce the number of errors. This one is trying to wipe out as many of those mechanisms as they can for the virus, so that when it is copying itself it is just automatically introducing a ton of errors into its copy.”

Favipiravir has had one small study with mixed results, according to Bischoff. It looks like another clinical trial is wrapping up, while Molnupiravir has shown more likelihood of success and did actually go through a Phase 1, and is entering a phase 2, and may quickly move into a Phase 3 trial.

“Of the two of them, Molnupiravir will likely be the first one to see the light of day if it makes it far enough,” Bischoff said.

Recombinant ACE-2: The coronavirus looks like a ball with spikes sticking off of it, Bischoff explained. What Recombinant does is introduce a bunch of these spikes in your system that aren’t attached to anything. They act as a decoy, the virus would attach to something that doesn’t work and then is escorted out of the body by the immune system. It does work well in a petri dish, but has not entered Phase 1 trials.

Bischoff also discussed Ivermectin, Oleandrin, Lopinavir, Ritonavir, Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, but they all have their problems, and some don’t work for covid-19 at all.

Halloween

Bischoff, who enjoys the holiday, encouraged everyone to be safe.

“If you know any groups that are doing the Trunk or Treating thing, we ask that you stagger arrival of kids, and eliminate games that involve contact or being close to people,” he said. “I would not recommend doing that inside of a building at this point. I think it’s a bad idea to cycle that many people through a closed air system.”

He also suggested that organizers space cars out in the parking lot, and pre-bag any candy, leaving it on a table, so everyone can admire each other’s costumes from six feet away.

“I like Halloween, but we do need to be safe, and be aware that covid-19 is out there, circulating freely,” Bischoff said.

 

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