Looking at the Washington state data, we are past the spike of our curve. As a result, we have reached a much lower peak than we thought, it is about 25% less than we initially thought.
I’m going to go over and go through the Governor’s plans to head back to work, and I’m going to try and clarify some things there.
Looking at the UVA data, the southwest region has had much less of a hit than more urban areas like northern Virginia, and greater Richmond.
One final update on the convalescent plasma and the nurse at VCU, he did receive the plasma he needed, and he is on the path to recovery. If you think you could potentially be a plasma donor, please go to my website and see if you fit the Red Cross criteria and if you can help out.
If hospitalizations are going to be a metric for reopening, what happens when the directive to test everyone going to the hospital for any reason increases the number of positive patients?
We are not looking at the tests done and the tests positive, we are looking at the percent of tests that are positive, because that is a number we can get a denominator on. If we test a larger number of people, those who don’t even have symptoms, there will be a gradually lower percentage of those tested will come back positive. The metric used will be percent positive, and that’s how we will see the curve change.
We hear that some tests have a high percentages of specificity in testing, what are we going to do about that?
Answer: The FDA has not approved any of these tests yet. There are emergency use tests that are allowable, and those tests are used to run a trial to gauge the specificity and sensitivity, and then that information is sent to the FDA to see if that is usable for emergencies. We have one of those tests in our area. 9,000 people in Henrico who had proven to be positive were tested, and those were found to have a 99% specificity and sensitivity response. That test is being used in the greater Richmond area at BetterMed, but the problem is that it is not technically FDA approved. We are still working on reliable tests.
How do we use this data? How does this change the course of what we’re doing?
Right now, it’s more scientific. We are trying to test and see how many people have had this. But there isn’t a way for this to be used to influence when we go back to normal. This will reflect herd immunity in the future, but we’re not there yet.
What’s being done to help long-term care facilities?
I was on a conference call this morning with Canterbury and their parent organization. They have made an extraordinary leap in their change from how their care was previously conducted, to where they are now. They are past the terrible curve. We had a robust conversation this morning to see what we could do to help make this better long term.
How will vaccines that are being rushed to the market be vetted?
They will only be rushed to the market if they are able to meet the test criteria put forward by the FDA. What is rushed is how quickly they will be able to move from one phase to the next. There are three phases for FDA approval, and the expectation is that moving through those benchmarks will happen more quickly.
What about compensation programs to ensure that those that are negatively impacted by the vaccine will be handled?
There was a lively discussion about this at the General Assembly this year. In 1986, the federal government set up an immunity for vaccine companies that was supported by the Supreme Court. There was set up a national indemnity, and in lieu of that there was established a national vaccine injury act fund that funds people who have been injured by a vaccine. That is how we deal with negative impacts from vaccines.
I’m frustrated about going back to work.
If you have the ability to look at the Governor’s proposal, please look at it. Slide 3 can be a bit misleading, this begs the question of having more testing and showing more positive results. That is not a good gauge of rising cases because more tests are being done. This is corrected by looking at percent positives.
Looking at slide 7, it says that Virginia’s metrics for phase 1, the percentage of positive tests moves downward for 14 days. We’ve been tracking percentages for a while, and they hover around 12% and 20%.
Looking at page 5, this looks at hospital capacities, and our hospitals are able to do this, so elective surgeries will soon be phased in.
There is an assessment of adequate PPE, which we have.
On page 7, it says that the number of positive cases has to go down, hospitalizations have to go down, we have to demonstrate that we have enough beds in both intensive care and in regular hospitals, and we need to have sustainable access to PPE. We are on our way back to work Virginia.
Next, is looking at testing per day. The graph illustrates that when we all go back to work, more people will be eligible for tests, we must have the capacity to test at that higher capacity. Right now, we are testing at about 2,600. As we add more people back to work, that number will continue to rise. We want to make sure we have enough testing capacity.
What does phase 1 look like?
The Governor hasn’t drilled down on that yet, but some businesses will reopen with strict safety restrictions. We are going to continue maintaining distance. We want people to keep teleworking, if you can, we should mitigate the risk. Finally, face coverings are recommended in public.
Let’s talk about masks: wearing a mask does not protect you from getting exposed from the virus. It protects other people from you.
How are you advocating for getting our rights back?
We need to agree on in only the most extreme circumstances should the government ask us to stay at home. We did not have a shelter in place law, that would have been an infringement on our rights. Stay at home was asking us to do that. They've asked us to wear masks. Virginia has been more conscious about protecting our rights. Once we’ve moved past the epic risk, I think it’s time to trust the risk assessment of individuals and preserve freedoms. I will be advocating for validity in any infringement on our rights. I’m advocating for us to get back to work and for the government to step back out of our lives.
Are you pushing to open indoor gun ranges in line with the judge's ruling in Lynchburg?
I have not read that ruling, but I will read about it and get back to you next time we talk.
Are you pushing the Governor to adhere to the letter issued by AG Barr to protect liberties such as freedom of religion and assembly?
I will have to look more into that and I will get back to you on Friday.
I get to be tested because my husband is a first responder and I am a teacher. Many of my students had a vague fever in the winter and now they are testing me for antibodies also. My suspicion is if I had it, then many of my students did as well. Is that a good line of thinking?
It's not unreasonable. It could be your students, or it could be someone else. Many of us were probably exposed early on.
When do you foresee being able to have weddings and events?
People are adaptable so they are happening. But there will still only be gatherings of 10 or less until we can make sure it is safe for all groups, especially for weddings where there are different age groups present.
Let me know if you have any other questions, I’ll be sure to find the most factual answers, and I believe we are close to being in a better place on this.
Check out my website HERE for more information, and we look forward to seeing you on Friday.