You don’t have to look too far to find news headlines about the latest COVID-19 variant and how quickly it can spread among individuals. While initially identified in South Africa, Omicron now makes up roughly 95% of new COVID-19 infections as of this writing. We have touched on this topic before, but as new strains continue to pop up, we must ensure we are prepared for COVID for the long run by learning about variants’ transmissibility and applying the knowledge we have gained during the pandemic thus far.
Preparations for New Strains
In the early days of COVID-19, insufficient emergency management strategies led to a significant delay in implementing best practices to treat patients with COVID and operate as a whole. A scarcity of PPE and beds and a sluggish process of establishing barriers, masks, social distancing, and adequate training for all personnel meant healthcare facilities were playing catch-up for months.
That is not an excuse today. While we hoped for months that vaccinations would make COVID a thing of the past, the increasing likelihood of COVID’s endemicity through new variants means we have to be prepared at all times.
As was the case with the delta variant, we can expect hospitalizations and infection rates to rise once more. While vaccinations and boosters minimize the risk of COVID-19-related severe illness, hospitalization and death, we don't yet know how effective they will be against new variations such as omicron. To successfully prepare for anticipated patient surges, healthcare institutions must have a thorough grasp of infection and immunization rates in their area. Facilities that fail to recall the lessons learned over the past two years will be unprepared for future surges. It's vital to incorporate treating COVID patients into regular hospital operations. It is the only sustainable long-term solution.
COVID vaccines are readily and widely available, and booster shots are available to eligible patients – those aged 18+ whose last COVID vaccination was six months prior. Although outbreaks of omicron among fully vaccinated persons are expected, vaccinations have been shown to reduce symptoms. All vaccinations approved or authorized by the FDA are predicted to protect against severe disease, hospitalization and death.
An estimated 464 million
doses of COVID vaccines have been given in the U.S. to date, with an estimated 144,000 doses given each day. With nearly 60% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated and by following best practice social distancing and mask-wearing protocols, we can take what we have learned from the past two years of this pandemic and be prepared if, or when, cases rise again.
At Medxcel, our devoted team members continue to play a vital part in the distribution of the vaccine thanks to the proper strategies in place. Those strategies and processes are based on a robust emergency preparedness and safety program. Frontline staff members are able to focus on an influx of patients while knowing that the operational and logistical sides of a pandemic are taken care of by an expert team. Emergency management teams remain central to crisis management as vaccines and boosters are released.
For facilities, implementing protocols to allow for simultaneous treatment of COVID patients alongside traditional and other emergency operations and vaccination and booster roll-out is essential. To the public, the omicron variant highlights the necessity of immunization and boosters. COVID-19 will be a genuine and present health danger so long as variations spread and individuals stay unvaccinated. We are doing our part to ensure our patients receive the treatment they need, no matter the variants that arrive.
Are you looking for help with emergency preparedness at your facility? To learn more about our services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-633-9235.