ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Health care leaders are leaning on monoclonal antibody infusions to help prevent rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.
With more high-risk COVID-19 patients turning to the treatment, it’s causing stress on clinics that offer the service.
The Regional Medical Center just received the green light from the Anniston City School Board to use the vacant Tenth Street elementary school to expand their monoclonal antibody treatment center.
On Friday RMC reported 50 COVID-19 hospitalizations. Of those, 14 are in the ICU and 13 are on ventilators.
“Our health care system is stressed. It is used to the limit. The wait times in the emergency department are becoming longer and longer,” said Dr. William Bohannan with the Anniston Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Bohannan believes monoclonal antibody treatment is a solution to helping elevate the stress on the current health care system.
“The more people we can treat, earlier to keep them out of the emergency department and to keep their symptoms from progressing the overall improvement in health care delivery. It will relieve stress from the hospitals and our goal is to keep people off ventilators and out of the hospital,” said Dr. Bohannan.
RMC’s current monoclonal antibody treatment clinic serves 18-22 patients a day. Now with the new clinic site in the works, the hospital hopes to help even more high-risk COVID positive patients.
“You need to have a physician’s referral; this is not a self-referral clinic. This is a physician referral. So if you go see a primary care doctor urgent care doctor and you test positive you need to go ahead and ask for a referral for the monoclonal antibody treatment area at RMC. Once we receiver the referral via fax or email then we will then have our scheduling team call and set that appointment up,” said Bridgette Magouirk, Director of Regional Medical Center Occupational Health.
With nursing staff shortages an issue around the state the hospital says the new clinic opening is not going to be an issue. They’ve had an overwhelming about of support from the medical community.
“We’re using volunteers, we’re using RMC employees, and we have asked to use nursing students at this time to help facilitate the treatment of these patients getting them in and out quicker and getting them back home,” said Magouirk.
RMC says they are still in the early stages of setting up the clinic at the elementary. The hospital hopes to soon release days, times, and hours in the next few days.