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OC health officials raising public awareness of therapeutic medications that lessen symptoms of COVID

With COVID on the rise, OC health officials raising awareness of symptom-easing therapeutic medicine
With COVID on the rise, OC health officials raising awareness of symptom-easing therapeutic medicine 01:58

As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the Southland, some health officials say that there are now therapeutic medications that can help lessen the symptoms and hopefully prevent long term sickness. 

While they maintain that key to avoid getting sick is getting vaccinated and boosted, doctors are also raising public awareness of the effects of Paxlovid, which they believe can treat the virus within the first five days of contracting the virus. 

"Paxlovid is now more widely available than it was before," said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, Chief Medical Officer of Orange County Health Care Agency. "What it does is it reduces hospitalizations eight times, so, we're hoping to offload our hospitals and get people treated sooner."

According to OCHA, since November 1, the number of Orange County has experienced a dramatic increase in reported COVID-19 cases. 

They report that: 

  • COVID-19 cases have risen 108%,
  • Hospitalizations have climbed 142%,
  • ICU cases have jumped 153%.

This increase in cases caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to move Orange County from the "low" tier of COVID activity to the "medium" tier on Friday, a day after Los Angeles County had their level increased.

Dr. Richard Pitts, CalOptima Medical Director, said that Paxlovid could also be key in preventing "long-COVID," which causes patients to experience lingering symptoms.

"Long-COVID is a debilitating illness," he said. "We do not understand everything about it just yet. We also know, along that line, why it's important not to get COVID and why be vaccinated, because there are a subset of people who get myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart."

He says this is why he, and a number of other medical professionals are now encouraging most patients over the age of 12 to contact their primary physician to get Paxlovid once they've tested positive. 

They say that the drug helps prevent COVID-19 from multiplying in the body. 

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