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Pawnee County Memorial Hospital


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COVID Prevent/Treatment Update

By Dr. Kent Niss


We all at Pawnee County Memorial Hospital and Rural Health Clinic (PCMH) are very thankful for the ability to care for our community and are grateful for the support you all have given us over these last two years during the COVID pandemic.

We would like to give you an update on different treatment and prevention concepts that may benefit our community at large. The most effective and safe method for prevention of COVID-19 spread is receiving the COVID-19 vaccination series, good hand hygiene, keeping distance from each other when feeling ill, and wearing masks. The COVID-19 vaccination series has been proven to be extremely safe and effective at reducing the severity of illness but also the transmissibility of the infection. I as well as the rest of the staff here at PCMH would encourage all who are able to get vaccinated to reduce the spread and burden of this disease process in our community. If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or any concerns that you would like to discuss all of us here at Pawnee County Memorial Hospital and rural health clinic are more than happy to discuss these with you. Please do not hesitate to call as we would always like to give you the best and most up to date information to help you be as informed as you can be; which will allow you to make good decisions for you and your family.


There are several different treatment regimens to help prevent worsening symptoms in COVID-19 and help reduce duration of symptoms, but in general it is the body’s immune system that treats the disease. Steroids, such as prednisone or dexamethasone, are used for those who need extra oxygen support. Remdesivir is a medication that continues to show effectiveness for those with moderate to severe disease and is readily available. Remdesivir is used for hospitalized patients mostly. Also, there are monoclonal antibody infusions, which work very similar to our own immune systems antibodies to fight the virus. These are used in mild (non-hospitalized) COVID cases for those that are at highest risk. These treatments are very limited and are allocated by the state to hospitals. This means that we may or may not have the monoclonal antibody treatments depending on the week. In addition to this, some monoclonal antibody treatments are not effective against the newest variant of the COVID virus, Omicron. Finally, there are also antiviral medications. They are very difficult to obtain and are exceedingly expensive. We are trying to obtain these to have available as well. These antivirals are for those with mild-moderate disease and highest risk. Most of these medications are only useful in the early stages of the illness and in those at highest risk.


It is fair to say that treatment of COVID-19 is difficult and often the only treatment is supportive therapy. In that light, prevention is the best method of combating COVID-19. At PCMH we offer vaccinations two days a week each week and will continue to have a pediatric vaccination clinic every three weeks. We offer both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the appropriate age groups. These are extremely safe vaccinations. If you do have any questions about the effectiveness or the safety of these vaccines, we are more than willing to talk it over. These vaccines have shown incredible effectiveness to reduce the severity of symptoms as well as the risk of being hospitalized with COVID. Additionally, good hand hygiene as well as staying away from others when you feel ill can reduce the spread of viral illnesses. We would also encourage mask wearing when in populated situations or if you are unvaccinated to help protect yourself from becoming sick as well as to protect our community.