Three COVID-19 deaths reported in York County as unvaccinated fall ill
York County saw three new COVID-related deaths in the last week, with health officials noting that the worst cases are among the unvaccinated.
According to state Department of Health data, the county reported 236 cases and three deaths to the Department of Health, bringing its pandemic totals to 148,086 cases and 1,671 deaths.
Dr. John Goldman, a UPMC infectious disease physician, said the hospital system currently has 28 total patients hospitalized with COVID. "Only two are fully vaccinated," he added.
Hospitalizations in York County also remain low, with 25 total adults, one fewer than last week. Those hospitalizations, however, were more severe; three adults were in the ICU while four were on ventilators, an increase of one and two respectively.
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Like many health experts, Goldman recommends that people who haven't already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine get the shots. While vaccination and herd immunity have made COVID less severe than it was at the height of the pandemic, the disease still can have adverse effects on those who are infected.
Last week, Pennsylvania reported over 3.5 million COVID cases since the pandemic began and 50,517 deaths. The state hit 3 million total cases in July of last year, eight months ago.
Meanwhile, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted in support of full approval of Paxlovid in adults with mild to moderate COVID who are at high-risk for severe disease.
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As first reported by CNN, the advisers voted 16-to-1 in favor of Paxlovid; the FDA must now conduct its own review of the drug. It first became available under emergency use authorization in December 2021.
“I thought that the efficacy data were clear and convincing,” Dr. Shankar Swaminathan, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Utah School of Medicine, told CNN. He voted in support of approval Thursday.
“I think that the fact that the drug has retained activity against various evolutionary strains of the virus is also reassuring and gives hope that this will continue to be the case going forward,” he said.
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There are, however, still some concerns about how Paxlovid interacts with certain medications. While he voted in approval, Dr. David Hardy, an adjunct clinical professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, cautioned that risk-mitigation was the correct path.
“That’s where I think we may get into trouble — or I can say where they can get into trouble — prescribing this medication without a good knowledge of what ritonavir does to other medications," Hardy said.
The federal government is set to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May.
— Reach Matt Enright via email at email@example.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.