State, with local support launches COVID-19 antibody infusion center in Nacogdoches
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A regional infusion center to treat active COVID-19 patients in East Texas will open Friday morning in Nacogdoches. The state supported center is designed to keep patients out of already overcrowded hospitals.
“Every hospital in the state of Texas is at full capacity,” reminds Dr. Charles Thompson, chief of staff at Nacogdoches Medical Center.
Thompson needs a game changer. He’s confident it can be found at the regional infusion center in Nacogdoches.
“It’s a neutralizing antibody agent. It’s called Regeneron,” Thompson said of the drug, that’s quickly becoming a household name.
Hospitals have been administering the treatment, but not fast enough.
“We have been doing five infusions a day,” said Thompson.
The infusion center will pick up the pace.
“We will be able to do up to 100 infusions a day, seven days a week. It prevents 70% of the people who get the infusion, from getting admitted into the hospitals.”
Currently, Nacogdoches area hospitals are overrun with covid-19 cases. The medical community says the sickest are not vaccinated. State nurses arrived last week to help with full ICU’s.
The infusion center is located at 320 Russell Blvd. directly behind Nacogdoches Medical Center. Patients need a doctor’s order. Individuals without a primary doctor have an option.
“This clinic will be able to do a telemedicine visit.”
It’s the patient’s responsibility to seek medical attention quickly.
“If you are more than ten days out from your first symptom than you are excluded from using the monoclonal antibody,” said Thompson.
Nacogdoches Medical Center is the pharmaceutical provider, a responsibility assumed out of desperation for all area hospitals.
Leigh Anne Carver, community relations manager at Nacogdoches Medical Center gathered information for the state application.
“Due to the large number of people needing this infusion, we had a backlog at our hospital of 68 patients.”
The infusions are free with support from the state of Texas through the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Nacogdoches County approved a lease agreement. The city will cover expenses for utilities.
We are dispensing our reimbursable thru the state. However, we did the groundwork on it,” said Nacogdoches County Judge Greg Sowell.
Fire Chief Keith Kiplinger is handling the medical emergency for the City of Nacogdoches.
“We are very appreciative the state stepped up and is working with us to support this.”
The antibodies are known to make some patients feel better within 24 hours. However, the medical community stresses vaccination remains the first line of defense.
Two COVID vaccine clinics are scheduled this week at the CL Simon Recreation Center (1112 North St). They are Wednesday, 8/11, 1-4pm and Thursday, 8/12, 9am-6pm, sponsored by Pilgrim’s and JBS USA
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