July 25, 2024
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Holy Name CMO Dr. Adam Jarrett Discusses COVID-19

The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County (RCBC),The North Jersey Board of Rabbis and The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey recently joined together to present an informational Zoom meeting with Dr. Adam Jarrett, chief medical officer at Holy Name Hospital. Dr. Jarrett was at the forefront during the initial onslaught of COVID-19 and has kept the community apprised throughout as to how to prevent the spread of the aggressive virus and how to stay safe. He shared this information with the rabbis and communal leaders of Teaneck and its adjacent communities. He also recently authored a book detailing the “fact and fiction of the virus and a peek into the future.” His book is entitled “The Pandemic: Past, Present and Future.”

Opening the program was Joshua Keyak, manager of the Synagogue Leadership Initiative of the JFNNJ, who praised the three partnering organizations for their common central value of the preservation of life of individuals and the larger community. He thanked Dr. Jarrett for his continuing guidance and updates in the ongoing battle against COVID-19. Rabbi Loren Monosov, rabbi of Temple Emanu-El of Closter, expressed her thanks on behalf of the community to Dr. Jarrett for helping enact the great mitzvah of “Do not stand idly by on seeing the blood of your neighbor.”

Dr. Jarrett began by contrasting the initial outbreak in March and April when Holy Name was treating 250 severely impacted patients, with 45 on ventilators. Currently Holy Name is treating 70 inpatients with only 15 on ventilators. However, despite these declining numbers, the virus is still claiming lives and is highly infectious. Holy Name is testing close to 300 patients a day and the positivity rate is in the 20% range.

”Wearing masks, maintaining distance, washing hands and limiting social gatherings is still the order of the day. Even after a good percentage of our community is vaccinated, the goal being 75-85% for herd immunity, we will still be recommending the wearing of masks as the virus can be passed on even by a vaccinated individual. Our earliest mistake in battling the virus was not masking up earlier, which might have saved lives.”

Dr. Jarrett described the admirable creativity and teamwork of the Holy Name medical staff. Working alongside their devoted facilities personnel, Holy Name created the “game-changing” ISO-Pod which allowed for proper ventilation and the elimination of harmful airborne particles so that two patients could share a treatment room, thus doubling the number of patients being treated. Holy Name currently has three dedicated COVID units and half of the emergency department reserved for COVID patients.

Much has advanced since the outbreak in March, according to Dr. Jarrett. Today Holy Name can receive test results in one to two hours as opposed to up to five days as in the past. And according to Dr. Jarrett, the speed with which the vaccines were developed is no less than a “miracle.” Through a synthetic protein injected into the cells, our bodies create a natural protein that attaches itself to the surface of the coronavirus and provides us with immunity. Holy Name has distributed over 4,000 vaccinations to date, both the Pfizer and the Moderna, with little or no negative reactions reported.

During the Q&A portion of the presentation, conducted by Dr. Jeff Pavell, physiatrist at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, current treatments were discussed. Monoclonal antibodies have been seen to be effective in treating positive patients if administered within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Holy Name is treating up to 25 patients a day with these antibodies according to specific criteria and when referred by a primary physician. Other medications such as remdesivir and steroids have also been shown to be effective on certain patients. In considering these treatments and others that have been used, Dr. Jarrett advises patients to consult with their primary care doctors regarding what is the best course of treatment for their particular situation.

In looking to the future, Dr. Jarrett suggested that vaccinations, though they are credited with 90-95% effectiveness, may not provide lifetime immunity, so that we may be looking at yearly shots such as for the flu. Children have been proven not to be as much at risk as adults and may only be vaccinated within the next year or two. In terms of the new strains of virus, they are highly contagious but not more deadly than those seen during the first wave.

Responding to a question posed about air travel, Dr. Jarrett suggested wearing an N95 mask as well as a face shield throughout the flight.

In concluding his presentation, Dr. Jarrett remarked that compared to our early treatment of the virus, we have come a long way with medications and technology. These are outlined in detail in his book “The Pandemic: Past, Present and Future,” which is available at bookstores and through Amazon.

To access the recording of Dr. Jarrett’s presentation, go to www.jfnnj.org/recordedevents/. To purchase Dr. Jarrett’s book, go to www.amazon.com/Time-Covid-Hospitals-Struggles-Triumphs/dp/BO8P29DFJM.

For further questions about COVID, go to https://covid19.nj.gov/ or www.holyname.org/covid19/.

By Pearl Markovitz

 

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