Hartford HealthCare leaders optimistic about new COVID-treating pills as hospitalizations surge


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Many are wondering how the omicron COVID variant could impact public health.

“It’ll be a couple more weeks so in the meantime, as we’re waiting for more data to come out, we have to use the tools that we know work to decrease spread, things like stay at home if you’re sick, identifying early disease, getting tested,” said Yale Medicine physician Jaimie Meyer.

Hartford HealthCare leaders stressed Friday that Connecticut is still battling the Delta variant. They say it’s responsible for most hospitalizations, which are surging.

“If you look at the last 30 days, we’ve increased our hospitalizations when you look at HHC’s data, which is about two hundred percent,” said Keith Grant, APRN, Hartford HealthCare senior system director of infection prevention.

Hartford HealthCare professionals also talked about drugs, oral therapies that will be coming onto the scene as game-changers such as Merck’s pill, and also Pfizer‘s pill Paxlovid, which the company claims reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%. People would be able to take the pills at home.

As those oral therapies await approval, the state is already working on a distribution plan.

Hartford HealthCare leaders say they’re working on a process to evaluate patients and get them prescribed that medication as fast as possible once the drug becomes available.

“As companies ramp up production, there will probably be a limited supply at first, so the state will be working with providers throughout to figure out who is going to distribute it in the early weeks,” said Eric Arlia, Hartford HealthCare director of systems pharmacy.

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