COVID-19 treatment drug arriving to Florida hospitals

Within the next two days, hospitals across Florida will receive 30,000 more vials of Remdesivir, a drug that has shown some effectiveness in treating COVID-19 according Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis provided an update on the state’s efforts Saturday during a press conference in St. Augustine. He said the new drug supplies equate to 5,000 to 6,000 patients treated. 

Pointing to efforts to limit spread during March, April and May, DeSantis said health care providers have made strides in fighting the virus in the most ill patients. 

“Flattening the curve gave an opportunity for American innovation to take hold,” he said.

The state received shipments of Remdesivir last week, but officials said they needed more of the drug before the next shipment was due. So, DeSantis said this additional shipment will allow better treatment.

DeSantis said he believes Remdesivir has not just shortened the time seriously ill patients have symptoms.

“I think it has taken patients that would have ended up in the ICU,” he said. “It has probably had a positive effect on mortality as well.”

Infections from COVID-19 statewide have been increasing by more than 10,000 a day, and hospitalizations have surpassed 20,600 since the virus began circulating, with a large number of those hospitalizations occurring in the last few weeks. 

Though fatalities have ranged from every age group, including a death in Santa Rosa County of a 24-year-old, those with pre-existing health conditions and those older than 65 have been at greater risk for serious complications from the virus.

To better allow treatment of those that need it, DeSantis implored that those who have recovered from COVID-19 consider helping fight the illness by donating their plasma.

“My plea would be, if you are positive for antibodies, if you have been cleared of the illness, please donate blood,” DeSantis said.

Those antibodies could be used for life saving therapies for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

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