By Betsy Barnett

2021-01-02 17:26:55

It was literally just three weeks ago when the Independent published the article “Take Tylenol and Drink Lots of Water.”  It was an article that described protocols the health care system in rural Colorado, specifically in southeastern Colorado (but also probably elsewhere if the truth be known), was using to help the community fight the war against Covid-19.

Just 3-4 short weeks ago the answer to what to do to fight the virus was basically, “Take Tylenol and drink lots of water.”  It was understood there was nothing available to help the people who were tested positive with Covid.  For what it was worth, as we said in the article, it wasn’t the health care system’s fault.  Their hands were seemingly as tied as the hands of the general population. Nevertheless, that approach left us only with hope and nothing much else.

But, in the last couple of weeks some truly remarkable improvements have been made by the Kiowa County Hospital District and Eads Medical Clinic.  These improvements will give every single person a proactive approach and actual options to fighting back against Covid-19. 

These options are available depending on what phase a person is in as far as the virus progression goes.  Obviously, the first option is to avoid getting the virus altogether.  Doing smart things like washing your hands often, social distancing, and mask wearing as necessary are a good beginning.  Continue to get as much exercise outside as possible.  Eat a nutritious diet high in antioxidants. 

There are other prophylaxis, early phase, and early outpatient protocols that we can use for the general public who have no medical concerns.  Every person should be practicing these helpful and healthy options by taking the following protocol daily.  These supplements can be purchased at the Kiowa Pharmacy, or your local pharmacy.  If they don’t have it in stock, all you have to do is ask and they will get it for you. 

Vitamin D3          1,000-3,000 IU/day (check with your provider before taking up to 5,000 IU)
Vitamin C            1,000 mg twice daily
Quercetin           250 mg/day
Melatonin          6 mg before bedtime (causes drowsiness)
Zinc                        50 mg/day of elemental zinc

The big game changer is for those who are high risk individuals including those 65 and older and people with health issues related to obesity, diabetes, and auto-immune deficiencies.  Your local providers have now added Ivermectin to the above regiment of supplements.  Ivermectin is well-known around these parts as a de-wormer for livestock.  However, as part of a new protocol called I-MASK+ the medication has been found to be quite successful in over 20 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) that included more than 10,000 participants.  The I-MASK+ protocol (I stands for Ivermectin) has been found to significantly reduce and suppress the mRNA viral replication that the Covid virus is famous for. 

According to Jessica Hyman, NP, provider at the Eads Medical Clinic, “I’ve just come back from the hospital in Woodward, OK where I was able to discuss the I-MASK+ protocol success with an intensivist in the ICU where they take in the sickest of the sickest Covid patients transported from other hospitals.  He said the data is showing the I-MASK+ decreases the viral load and suppresses the mRNA replication.  They are seeing huge gains with this protocol.”

Ivermectin can be prescribed through your provider and the prescription filled in the local pharmacies.

But wait, there’s more!

In talking with Kiowa County Hospital District head nurse, Ellen Lane, we learned that the hospital has now set up protocols for even more options to the community in the battle against Covid.  These options are having tremendous success across the country and are specifically for Out-Patient Covid-positive people who still have their normal oxygen levels but have risk factors that have been identified to be dangerous for Covid.  Lane says, “There is a whole list of risk factors that are broad in scope so these protocols would be available for a good percentage of the population.”

These weapons include Bamlanivimab and Regeneron.  Both medications are monoclonal antibody medications delivered via infusions in an out-patient setting at the hospital.  Lane describes the process, “We have structured an out-patient door on the north side of the hospital that takes the patient into Room 8.  From the hospital side, Room 8 is isolated and only accessible to health workers administering the infusion.  The patient receives the medication through IV which takes about an hour.  They are then required to stay for observation for another hour.  The infusion process is simple, not too invasive and doable time wise.”  Lane also adds, “The Bamlanivimab and Regeneron are supplied free of charge to the patient and they are only billed for the IV materials and time in the room.” 

Finally, if the supplemental protocol, the I-MASK+ protocol or the infusion protocols don’t provide the necessary results for an individual there is one more protocol the KCHD has developed.  They have a Covid hospital room that has the necessary ventilation set up in the hospital setting.  If a patient is hospitalized, they will receive a combination of Remdesivir and Decadron along with other needed weapons such as oxygen and blood thinners.

Lane says, “Our goal is to treat patients at home effectively killing the virus on the front line.  In that way we don’t have to bring patients into the hospital, or we at least lessen the numbers requiring hospitalization.  Further, we want to avoid having to ship anyone to the front range for intensive care.”

And, if that all wasn’t enough to make us feel we have the power to fight this virus, there is one more weapon that is now being utilized.  That is the vaccine that was developed by President Trump’s Warp Speed program. 

Lane says, “As of this afternoon we have given nearly 35 shots to the Phase One recipients which includes health care workers and residents in the nursing home and assisted living facility.”

Kiowa County received 100 Moderna vaccines that the hospital and Kiowa County Public Health will distribute in Phase One.  Between the two agencies they should have most of the Phase One recipients vaccinated with the first round of two shots by the end of next week or soon after.  Lane emphasized, “I definitely want people to understand that if we have any vaccines left over, we are required by the state to inquire in the neighboring counties, such as Prowers and Otero, whether they need any extra vaccines for their Phase One people.  I would love to get the vaccine to everyone who wants it as soon as possible, but, unfortunately, we have to follow the protocol set out by the state.”

Nevertheless, the fact is, we are now no longer helpless when it comes to fighting Covid-19.  We have options --- prophylaxis options, outpatient options, hospital options, and coming very soon a vaccine that was shown to have a 95% success rate in fighting off this insidious virus.

As we wave a long overdue “good riddance” to 2020, it seems we also have the power to do the same to Covid-19.


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