A warning to medical professionals, not the public, about the respiratory virus, COVID-19 is increasing
Author: NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
The state Department of Health and Human Services issued a health alert Wednesday to health care workers, but not the general public, warning of increased respiratory virus activity and an expectation that levels of COVID-19 will increase in the coming weeks.
It’s just in time for families to gather for holiday celebrations, but the state has said little about what to expect, except when asked to repeat a vague reference that more COVID is expected in the winter and to urge people to get vaccinated.
According to the health alert, NH’s weekly influenza surveillance report also shows an increasing number of influenza virus detections reported by hospital laboratories in New Hampshire.
“Anyone who has not received an updated flu shot this season, or who has not received all of the recommended COVID-19 vaccines, should get vaccinated now,” the alert said.
He provided these details for healthcare providers:
- Everyone over the age of 6 months is recommended to receive an annual flu shot; high-dose or adjuvanted influenza vaccine is preferred for adults over 65 years of age.
- Everyone older than 6 months is recommended to complete the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, and those older than 5 years should also receive an updated bivalent Omicron booster.
Vaccines against COVID-19 can be administered regardless of the timing of other routine vaccines, the alert states, including the simultaneous administration of both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines on the same day.
Primary vaccination series against COVID-19 in children and adolescents, as well as the Omicron bivalent booster vaccination in general in New Hampshire remain low (see chart).
InDepthNH.org has received a health alert from a health care provider. It also discusses outpatient treatment with Paxlovide for patients with COVID-19 and a report from the Centers for Disease Control. It is attached here. https://indepthnh.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/HAN_COVID-19_Update-68-and-Other-Res-1.pdf
Spokesmen for the Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Chris Sununu did not immediately respond to requests for more information early Wednesday evening.
Patients who do not have a primary care provider or who are unable to access Paxlovid through primary care can be evaluated and prescribed Paxlovid through the free On-site Medical Services telehealth program or by calling 800-816-5803, the alert states. .
The warning was distributed by the NH Health Alert Network from state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan to health professionals across the country as part of their monthly meetings.
The NH Division of Public Health Services continues to host a monthly Health Professional Webinar every 2nd Thursday of the month to provide public health updates. The next webinar will be on Thursday, December 8 from 12 to 1 p.m
The November webinar has been canceled as it conflicts with the annual NH Immunization Conference.
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