Asante changes COVID-19 treatment, as pandemic shifts

MEDFORD, Ore. – A shift within the pandemic. That’s what Asante is seeing, as experts predict another COVID-19 surge is on the horizon.

As the Omicron variant spreads, we’re learning about a treatment used to help people with COVID-19 symptoms is no longer being used by Asante. Asante has been using mono-clonal antibody treatment for people suffering from COVID-19 for months. We’ve learned that isn’t effective in treating people suffering from the Omicron variant.

“We do understand that the next modeling is for an increase in a surge in early February. So we’re taking every precaution and making every plan we can to make sure we’re prepared,” said Lauren Van Sickle, spokesperson for Asante.

The organization is prepping its three Rogue Valley hospitals and updating treatments to fit the new Omicron variant. Asante said it’s found one treatment that’s been successful in the past, doesn’t work with omicron.

“Regeneron is a type of monoclonal antibody treatment. And it was very effective for the use of the diseases caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19,” said Van Sickle.

But now that Omicron is the predominant variant in Southern Oregon, Asante is making a change.

“We’re closing our drive-thru monoclonal antibody clinic,” said Van Sickle.

While the CDC said Omicron is more contagious than previous strains of COVID-19, symptoms are often milder though it still presents risks. Asante said the recent data is evidence enough of how quickly it can spread.

“My understanding is now we’re at about 80% in our region of Omicron variant rather than Delta. And just about a week ago, we were close to 25%. So that number just keeps increasing daily,” said Van Sickle.

Now with people in line waiting to get tested for sometimes well over an hour, it’s likely Omicron will be even more dominant sometime soon.

Experts say while this variant is less severe, it’s still important to take precautions. Wear a mask and if you aren’t already vaccinated get vaccinated.

NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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