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SIH shares omicron update, how they are treating sick COVID-19 patients

Paducah-Cape Girard KFVS-TV logo Paducah-Cape Girard KFVS-TV 12/23/2021 Colin Baillie
SIH shared an omicron variant update and one way they are treating sick COVID-19 patients. © Provided by Paducah-Cape Girard KFVS-TV SIH shared an omicron variant update and one way they are treating sick COVID-19 patients.

CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - COVID-19 cases numbers are climbing in southern Illinois and medical experts expect the trend to continue after the holidays.

On Wednesday, December 22, we learned more about the omicron variant and how SIH medical is treating their COVID-19 patients.

”I thought we were maybe done with COVID after that last wave,” said Medical Director at SIH Herrin Emergency Department Dr. Joshua Miksanek.

But that is not the case as the omicron variant continues to spread.

“What we’re seeing in other countries and what we’re starting to see in America based on data out of the CDC this week is that omicron is rapidly replacing delta as the main variant in the United States. At this moment, we don’t know how sick omicron makes you relative to delta,” said Miksanek.

Miksanek said the omicron variant is not making people as ill compared to the delta strain.

“I think people should be prepared to see the numbers on the news rise, but what I think I’m hoping is that we’ll see less people overall seriously impacted from omicron like they have been from delta. On the health care side though, I’m very concerned because even if it’s 50 to 90 percent less deadly, it’s probably 3 to 5 times more infectious,” said Miksanek.

SIH is also treating their patients who are not sick enough to be admitted into the hospital with Monoclonal Antibody Treatment.

“The goal of it is, to give you the antibodies that will help your body fight the infection quicker so it becomes less severe,” said Dr. Sara Malone, physician at SIH.

The hospital is treating an average of 90 patients a week with the antibody treatment. One location is at the Herrin Hospital, the other is at their Harrisburg location.

“We have seen a few patients that have a rash, maybe just a little few patient with some nausea and vomiting, but really, we think that’s more related to the COVID-19 process. And patients have done very, very well with this infusion,” said Susie O’Neil Nurse Leaders at SIH Cancer Institute.

This treatment is for those 18 and older and within 10 days of testing positive or having symptoms.

Miksanek said people should not panic over the new variant, just be aware.

“We’ve all be through COVID for 2 years, this is going to get bad more quickly but the hope is, it’ll be balanced out by the less severe and deadly and higher vaccination rates in the country. So you’ll hear about it, see your family be careful, be safe,” said Miksanek.

As of Wednesday afternoon, SIH saw 46 patients with COVID-19. They said 16 are fully vaccinated and one of those has had their booster.

“We’re seeing a lot of hospitalizations, not as many yet as last time and we’re hoping we don’t reach as many as last time ‘cause that really gets to the breaking point for most hospitals in the region and in the country,” said Miksanek.

Miksanek said he thinks within two to four weeks, the peak will be over and we will be on the down trend.

According to SIH, the antibody treatment takes about two hours to complete.

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