Dear Clinic Members,
We are happy to have officially welcomed Erica Hickson, ARNP, to the office! Her schedule is open and she is accepting appointments to see patients.
We are also pleased to announce that we have added a new massage therapist to the staff. Kate is now accepting appointments at the office; please call to book a time if interested. We have made the decision to charge clients directly, and provide a receipt for insurance submission. While she is accepting bookings for both members and non-members, the charge for clinic members will be discounted to $80 for a 60-minute session.
In Covid-related updates, we are quite pleased to see the latest Covid surge ebbing. With infection rates on Bainbridge Island falling below 50 (per 100K over the prior 7 days) over the last week, we believe that we’re well on our way back to a somewhat more normal spring and summer.
We have mixed feelings about the changes to our state and national mask mandates. The debate about the right time to discontinue the *mandated* wearing of masks has continued to challenge public health experts. While hospitalizations are down and we appear to be in no danger of overwhelming the health care system with Covid cases at this point, there are still many vulnerable individuals who are at risk of severe illness. We continue to see thousands of deaths weekly in our country. The pandemic is not over, as much as we would all like for it to be.
We want to emphasize that as individuals we can and should continue to wear masks where warranted. In fact, our recommendation for the next several weeks, at the very least, is that we all continue to wear masks while in public indoor settings as well as crowded outdoor settings (like sporting events or concerts). We also continue to recommend that our members not dine inside restau ants until the community infection rate falls and stays below 25 per 100K.”
“The discontinuation of mask mandates at this point does not include hospitals and health care facilities — we will continue to require all patients to wear a mask through the duration of their visits at the clinic. Good-quality masks remain quite effective for reducing transmission of Covid.
We continue to receive frequent inquiries from patients about getting a fourth dose of Covid vaccine. Per the current guidelines, only individuals with moderate to severe immunosuppression are eligible for a fourth dose. There is ongoing discussion at the state and federal levels about whether to expand eligibility to others, but it is starting to seem less likely that this will be extended to folks under age 65. With growing evidence that three doses is sufficient for reducing most patients’ risk of needing hospitalization for severe Covid, the value of getting a fourth dose is increasingly questionable.
The scientific thinking on Covid immunity has been shifting, and researchers are focusing more now on measures of immune protection beyond antibody levels. This New York Times article is an excellent discussion on this trend.
We are also optimistic that wider availability of effective antiviral drugs — like paxlovid — will further reduce the Covid burden on our hospitals and communities.
We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. Thank you for your support!
Dr. Crandell and Staff