Officials worried COVID therapy could be pulled from SE Texas

Officials gather before Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick talks about the new monoclonal antibody infusion center that opened Monday to help treat patients with COVID-19. The new center will be able to treat up to 150 patients daily, significantly increasing the number that can be treated amid a steep rise in cases. The treatment is free to patients 12 and older who are within 10 days of contracting the virus and are not experiencing severe respiratory problems.
source Kim Brent

County officials are concerned the Southeast Texas Regional Infusion Center could be closed if more patients don’t begin seeking treatment.

The infusion center opened in late August and administers the COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy.

The center previously once was leading the state in daily patients, treating between 150 and 200 people each day. However, it’s seen a “significant” decrease in patients over the past weekend.

The treatment has in part been credited with slightly lowering Southeast Texas’ hospitalization rate. But Jefferson County Tax Assessor/Collector Allison Nathan Getz said in a news release said the decrease has not been significant and ICUs remain full.

Beds in ICUs across Jefferson County have been totally full since before September began, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. As of Monday, 93% of those beds were being used by patients who are at least suspected to have COVID-19.

As a result of the hospital capacity, Getz said the county is encouraging people who’ve tested positive and are over the age 12 to schedule infusions through their physicians or to contact the center hotline.

“Over 3,900 Southeast Texas residents have received these infusions, which keep almost all out of the hospital,” she said. “This infusion must be taken within 10 days of a positive test.”

The hotline to schedule an appointment is (409) 550-2536.

Written by Olivia Malick

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