COVID-19 Update: World Health Organization Guidelines and Thunder Bay District Health Unit Announcement

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COVID-19 Update

Thunder Bay District Health Unit Changes in Communication Strategy

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – There are, as of November 9, 2023, five Active Publicly Disclosed Outbreaks in High-Risk Settings in the district. There were four new cases of COVID-19 reported to the TBDHU in the past week, and there are thirty individuals in the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

  • Discontinuation of Outbreak Updates: The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has announced a significant shift in its communication policy. The unit will cease issuing media releases or social media posts concerning respiratory (including COVID-19) and gastrointestinal outbreaks in facilities such as public hospitals and long-term care institutions. The TBDHU has not explained why this shift has been made.

WHO Releases 13th Update on COVID-19 Therapeutics

  • Guideline Overview: The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its 13th update on COVID-19 therapeutic guidelines, focusing on patients with non-severe COVID-19.

Updated Hospital Admission Risk Rates for Non-Severe COVID-19

  • Less Severe Disease and Increased Immunity: Due to current COVID-19 variants causing less severe illness and higher immunity levels from vaccination, there’s a lower risk of severe illness and death in most patients.
  • New Baseline Risk Estimates: The update introduces revised baseline risk estimates for hospital admissions in non-severe COVID-19 cases.
    • High Risk: Immunocompromised individuals, with a 6% estimated hospitalization rate.
    • Moderate Risk: Includes people over 65, those with obesity, diabetes, chronic conditions (like COPD, kidney or liver disease, cancer), disabilities, and chronic disease comorbidities, facing a 3% hospitalization rate.
    • Low Risk: Individuals outside high or moderate risk categories, with a 0.5% hospitalization rate.

Review of Treatments for Non-Severe COVID-19

  • Preferred Treatment: WHO strongly recommends nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) for high and moderate-risk patients, noting its therapeutic benefits and ease of administration.
  • Alternative Treatments: For high-risk patients without access to nirmatrelvir-ritonavir, WHO suggests molnupiravir or remdesivir as alternatives.
  • Guidance Against Certain Treatments:
    • For moderate-risk patients, WHO advises against the use of molnupiravir and remdesivir, citing limited benefits.
    • Low-risk patients should not receive antiviral therapy; symptoms can be managed with analgesics like paracetamol.
    • WHO recommends against the use of the new antiviral VV116, except in clinical trials.
    • A strong recommendation is made against the use of ivermectin in non-severe cases, advising its use only in clinical trials for severe or critical cases.
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