Monday, June 1, 2020
Another Antibody Test Starts. Boycotting Costco. Honeymoon in Jail
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Bob Jonas and Sarah Michael use theme for packing. But llamas are being enlisted in an even more noble cause—the fight against coronavirus.
 
Saturday, May 9, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Blaine County residents can get free antibody tests for the coronavirus beginning today.

The COVID-19 Response Group will offer antibody testing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Copper Ridge building on Washington Avenue in Ketchum next to the Apothecary.

Testing involves a finger prick, rather than a blood draw. And the blood could be used for further study by a university.

 
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Paul Ries' Curve shows Blaine County holding steady with 499 confirmed and probably cases of coronavirus for the third day in a row.
 

Private donors have offered $30,000 to get the community-centered testing started. Those who can are asked to cover the cost of the test, which costs $60.

Organizers figure they will need to raise $150,000 to test the 3,000 to 4,000 people they hope to test.

The tests, manufactured by Confirm Biosciences of San Diego. The company produces drug and other health tests that are sold at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid. The COVID tests have a sensitivity rate of 95 percent, meaning just 5 percent of the tests could be false positives.

The Blaine County test is being administered by Apollo Contactless Triage, developed by Gauss Surgical and Stanford University.

Tests will be administered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Book an appointment on a smartphone by visiting www.Covid19ResponseGroup.comThose being tested should receive their results that same day.

Masks must be worn to the testing.

COVID-19 Response Group involves St. Luke’s emergency physicians Dr. Brent Russell and Dr. Brock Bemis, along with Ketchum pharmacists Cathy Swink and Paula Shaffer.

Questions? Contact info@covid19responsegroup.com.

KETCHUM MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY CANCELLED

The Ketchum Memorial Day Ceremony, like the Hailey ceremony, has been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flags and crosses will mark the graves of veterans, however.

HOLDING STEADY

Blaine County continued to hold steady with 499 confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus for the third day in a row. But the state tallied 27 new cases, bringing its total to 27.

DUST OFF THE CAMPING TENT

The Salmon-Challis National Forest is preparing to open some campgrounds on May 16. The Forest Service hopes to have 30 developed recreation sites open by Memorial Day Weekend. Trails and trailheads are open now.

BOYCOTTING COSTCO

Costco began a new policy requiring shoppers to wear face masks this week. And that may have the unintended effect of ensuring physical distancing, as some shoppers say they will boycott the chain over the requirement.

DID SUNDANCE SPREAD CORONAVIRUS?

Utah’s state epidemiologist has told The Hollywood Reporter that it is definitely possible that the Sundance Film Festival, which attracted 120,000 attendees to Park City from Jan. 23 to Feb. 2, was a petri dish for COVID-19.

The newspaper spoke to more than a dozen people who said they had significant illness after attending the festival. Claims are anecdotal but some of those who attended say they experienced sore throat, aches, trouble breathing at night and violent coughs afterwards—symptoms they say lasted three to four weeks.

If those coughs and aches were indeed COVID-19, it would move Utah’s timeline for hosting the virus back from March 6 when its first case of coronavirus was announced.

SEATTLE CLOSES MORE STREETS

Seattle has now closed 20 miles of streets as part of a new Stay Health Streets initiative. The measure allows people under stay-at-home orders.

HONEYMOON IN JAIL

Hawaii is one state that has put some teeth behind its measures taken to stop the spread of coronavirus. After warning tourists attempting to flee the coronavirus on the mainland that they would be subject to a 14-day quarantine, Hawaiian authorities have jailed honeymooners from California after they left their hotel room repeatedly. It’s arrested others at hotel pools, shopping Costco and going out for take-out.

Those convicted of violating emergency rules face a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. Their efforts appear to be working as the state so far has just 626 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths.

NO COVID IN PARADISE

It appears parts of paradise may have been spared COVID-19. There are several countries that have not reported any cases of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization. They include Comoros, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue and Palau.

The isolated island chains have been spread, it’s believed, because countries in Asia quickly locked down, preventing travel and tourism, according to USA Today.

And then, of course, there’s Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth and now considered the safest place in the world. The continent has had no confirmed cases among the 5,000 scientists and researchers who live there. And, in a twist of irony, the scientists there currently have more freedoms in this normally isolating place than those in the rest of the world.

GIVE ME SOME OF WHAT THEY HAVE

Llamas are being enlisted in the fight against coronavirus. Researchers say the animals with the spindly legs, slightly askew ears and envy-inducing eyelashes may have antibodies that can neutralize the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Llamas produce two types of antibodies. One is similar to human’s but the other is a quarter the size. And the smaller one can access tinier crevices on spike proteins to more effectively neutralize viruses.

Llamas’ antibodies have been used in H.I.V. and influenza research, finding promising therapies for both those viruses, says an article in the New York Times.

HOPEFUL NEWS ON ANTIBODIES

We still don’t know whether antibodies confer immunity for those who have had COVID-19. But a new study of 1,343 New Yorkers by researchers at Mount Sinai in New York City does show that nearly everyone who has had the disease makes antibodies to the virus regardless of age, sex or severity of illness, according to the New York Times.

Antibodies are produced by the body to fight invaders. And they typically confer some protection against viruses.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


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