State Health Commissioner Urges Caution with Potential COVID-19 Treatments

The state health commissioner says more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of potential COVID-19 treatments. During state officials’ press conference Tuesday, Dr. Kris Box said there’s limited evidence to support the success of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in treating or preventing the disease.

“Most importantly, hoarding these medications or usage that is not indicated severely limits the usage of these medications by individuals who have been using them for years for their autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus,” she added.

Box noted that larger studies are currently underway. In the meantime, she stressed that any decision to use the medications to treat COVID-19 should be left between the health care provider and the patient.

Meanwhile, Box said there isn’t yet a reliable way to check antibodies to determine if someone’s built up immunity. “If you had had German measles or have you had chickenpox in the past, we can check your blood and determine are you immune, so you shouldn’t get that again,” she explained. “We don’t have that accurate test right now. But certainly, that is something that people are looking at and studying at this point.”

Box also felt that it isn’t realistic or necessary for everyone in the state to wear a protective mask, but they should be used by those who work with at-risk populations.