After contracting COVID-19, Judge Jeff Branick, wife opted out of infusion treatment due to low supply

“We’ve got to reserve those for people with co-morbidities, and we don’t have those.”

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Southeast Texas judge and his wife are currently recovering after contracting COVID-19.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick told 12News that he and his wife, Sherrie Branick, are already feeling better after testing positive for the virus.

“I don’t know,” Judge Branick said. “As I sit here today, where I contracted the virus.”

Judge Branick said while the pair no longer have fevers, they still have a cough and are, “a little weak.” Monday marks day four of the couples quarantine.

“My wife mentioned about 8:00 Thursday night that she started feeling bad though,” Judge Branick said. “Friday, we got some test kits and tested her, and hers was positive within about 30 seconds.’

The judge and his wife did not get the infusion treatment because neither have underlying health conditions, Judge Branick said. The decision stems from the fact that a recent COVID-19 surge has put a strain on the Southeast Texas regional infusion center.

“I’m in pretty good health and as is she,” Judge Branick said. “We’ve got to reserve those for people with co-morbidities, and we don’t have those.”

The low supply is forcing health officials to prioritize patients. Judge Branick and his wife want to make sure that those who really need to get the treatment are able to.

“But unfortunately, with reduced supply, we’ve had to restrict the availability only to those who are most in need,´ Todd Senters, associate vice president of operations at Baptist Hospital, said.

Jefferson County received a shipment of 126 antibody infusion treatments last week. Health officials with Baptist Hospital said this is only 15 percent of their order.

The drug has proven to be effective against the omicron variant. When prioritizing who gets an antibody treatment, health officials at the infusion center are referring to Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

“Which is greater than age 55, unless there is a pre-existing medical condition and those between the age of 55 and 65 also need to have a pre-existing medical condition,” Senters said.

County officials are hoping that the county will receive more doses soon.

“We’ll get notice of what our allocations going to be for the upcoming week,” Branick said. “We’re hoping it’s going to be higher than the 126 that we got last week.”

In the meantime, Judge Branick said he plans to retest on Tuesday.

The recent COVID-19 surge is affecting the Jefferson County judicial system in various ways. The county is temporarily changing the way it conducts jury duty.

On Thursday Jan. 6, the Jefferson County District Clerk’s office confirmed with 12News that Jefferson County has canceled all jury duty due to the surge.

The Grand Jury will continue to meet, but regular jury duty is suspended.

With COVID-19 spreading at alarming rates across Texas, more testing options are available. Officials continue to stress the importance of widespread testing in order to better gauge community spread.

Beaumont & Southeast Texas locations

  • MedExpress at 3565 College Street, Beaumont
  • AFC Urgent Care at 3195 Dowlen, Beaumont
  • Riceland Healthcare, 85 I-10 Service Road, Beaumont
  • TAN Healthcare at 1495 N. 7th Street, Beaumont
  • Legacy Healthcare at 450 N. 11th Street and 3455 Stagg (pediatric), Beaumont
  • Baptist Hospital at 608 Strickland Drive, Orange  
  • Beaumont Emergency Care at 4004 College Street, Beaumont
  • Beaumont VA Clinic at 3420 Plaza Cir, Beaumont
  • Exceptional Emergency Care at 4755 Eastex Frwy, Beaumont
  • Exceptional Emergency Care at 3330 Hwy 365, Port Arthur
  • Exceptional Emergency Care at 1321 N. 16th St, Orange
  • CVS Pharmacy at 2950 Dowlen Road and 6850 Eastex Frwy, Beaumont, must pre-register online.
  • Christus Promptu Care at 4046 Dowlen Road, Beaumont
  • People’s Urgent Care at 3255 N. Major Drive, Beaumont

Anyone can visit to sign up for a FREE vaccination. Some of the pharmacies in the area offering vaccines and boosters are…

Around the country, officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. Also available locally are treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapy at the Beaumont Infusion Center located at 5550 Eastex Freeway. 

Written by Almiya White (KBMT), Tiana Johnson (KBMT)

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