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New 10 Minute Treatment Restores Sense of Smell and Taste in Patients with COVID Parosmia

in Health 302 views

Using an image-guided, minimally invasive procedure, scientists may be able to cure the loss of smell, known as parosmia, occasionally found in people who were infected with COVID-19.

While most COVID patients did recover their sense of smell over time, some patients however continue to have these symptoms for months, or even years, after infection.

Lead author professor Adam Zoga said that post-COVID parosmia is increasingly being recognized, and that patients can develop distaste for foods or drinks they used to enjoy.

“Parosmia has previously been reported as a rare disorder occurring after brain trauma, brain surgery, stroke, viral syndromes, and with some head and neck tumors,” said Zoga. “We were not entirely confident that the procedure would work for parosmia.”

The treatment involves injecting anesthetic directly into the stellate ganglion on one side of the neck to stimulate the autonomic nervous system, which is accurately achieved with CT guidance.

The minimally invasive procedure takes less than 10 minutes, and no sedation is necessary. It’s been used to treat several other conditions including cluster headaches, phantom limb pain, Raynaud’s and Meniere’s syndromes, angina, and cardiac arrhythmia.

For the study, 54 patients were referred by an ear, nose, and throat specialist after at least six months of post-COVID parosmia that was resistant to pharmaceutical and topical therapies.

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Masks returning to Samaritan Health System

in Health 303 views

Samaritan Health System announced in a news release on Thursday that masking will be required in all locations for staff, patients and visitors until further notice.

Samaritan said the decision comes after seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in emergency department patients, hospital inpatients, employee cases, Jefferson County numbers of positive COVID-19 cases overall and local wastewater testing.

Visitation will not change at this time, but if a visitor chooses not to wear a mask, they will not be allowed to visit a patient or resident.

“The goal is to keep the number of positive cases in our community minimal,” the news release states. “Samaritan is doing its part to protect our patients, residents, and staff, just as other facilities across the state and nation are doing.”

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North country administrators, educators talk national teacher shortage, COVID and upcoming school year

in School 209 views

WATERTOWN — With COVID-19 related restrictions and regulations having been further relaxed for the start of the 2022-23 school year next week, there is much hope for finding a “new normal.” But a shortage of teachers and other staff necessary for school districts to operate properly has been affecting schools across the nation.

The north country has not been immune to the shortage, as many districts are dealing with increasingly smaller pools of applicants and often competing with one another for recruits, and there are still dozens of positions open across the region — from superintendents and principals to bus drivers and substitute teachers. The first day of school for most districts is Tuesday.

Districts in the north country have gotten creative with their responses to the shortages and have remained committed to providing their students with the many classes and programs they offer.

According to Jefferson-Lewis BOCES District Superintendent Stephen J. Todd, he and his colleagues have been talking for the last several years about how they’ve seen a small pool of available teachers and educators coming out of teacher prep programs.

“It’s not really pandemic related and what we’re seeing this year is not dramatically different from what we saw last year, the year before or the year before that, even though the overall hiring market nationwide is even tighter,” Mr. Todd said. “I hear this from my colleagues outside of education as well, what my industry friends are saying mirrors what we’re seeing that the workforce is, as we know it, just much smaller than the demand for employees right now in every field.”

He noted that it is hard to find teachers of all kinds, but especially those in specialized areas like particular sciences or foreign languages. The market is also tighter for teaching assistants, aides and substitute teachers, as well as bus drivers. The Board of Cooperative Educational Services hires teachers of particular trades and Mr. Todd said he was happy to report that they have had good success this year filling some hard-to-fill teaching positions for electrical wiring and heavy equipment classes.

He also helps out when districts need help finding high-level administrators like superintendents, and is currently assisting with searches for superintendents for the Watertown City School District and General Brown Central School District. He noted that superintendent searches used to bring in around 25 to 30 applicants, and this was true statewide. Then it became 15, then 10. And then it became single digits.

“That’s true, I think, across the labor market, but there are still good people out there, we’re still hiring excellent people,” Mr. Todd said.

COVID-19 led teachers to modify their approaches to teaching, become adept at virtual learning and collaboration, use new technology, narrow curricula to the essentials, and assess students in different ways in order to continue to offer students meaningful learning experiences. They overcame this unprecedented time by doing what they do best: supporting, encouraging and educating.

Even before the pandemic, teachers were leaving their positions or the profession entirely for various reasons, including low pay and a lack of societal support.

“When we first shut down, people really realized how much teachers do and were thankful, but that was very short lived,” said Nadine C. Britton, living environment teacher at Sackets Harbor Central School. “I think that the general public has a difficult time understanding what a teacher’s day really looks like and without that vision, our job is thought to be extremely easy. I think that due to all of that, the lack of support that teachers feel is why we have a shortage right now.”

Mrs. Britton, who is now in her 23rd year of teaching and second with the district, noted that it needs to be understood that teachers are educated people with advanced degrees who have families and bills, and that a living wage and general support are the only way the teaching profession will become marketable again.

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Watertown residents respond to lift of state’s mask-or-vax rule

in Health/Local Business/Local News 612 views

WATERTOWN — Whether they are pro-mask or not, people seem ready to leave the decision to require masks be worn in public up to individuals and not the state.

A half-dozen people interviewed at random in Watertown on Wednesday, shortly after Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced that the requirement to enter a business with a mask or proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be lifted on Thursday, said they’ve always understood why wearing masks is important.

They all said they have taken COVID-19 seriously and have taken precautions like masking and getting vaccinated. Still, most felt the requirement was a driver of tension, and that it’s time to leave it up to the bar owner, hardware store or gas station — and they would respect what the sign on the door says with or without a state requirement.

“If you feel comfortable wearing one then wear it,” said Ron DaLuke, a Watertown resident. “I’ll wear mine if I remember it. As far as it being enforced, that’s a pretty tough deal to say ‘You have to wear this.’”

He said he understands that wearing a mask protects others, but now is not the right time to get combative with those who don’t wear masks.

“Are you going to walk into the store and because a person there isn’t wearing a mask, are you going to go over there and punch them?” he said. “No, you wear your mask, keep your distance and just go about your business.”

Amanda Fuller, a lifelong Watertown resident, is sick of the masks, but she has a child whose immune system is compromised.

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