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TGH leaders call attention to 'lifesaving' antibody treatments as COVID cases rise

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 18:39:25-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — Governor Ron DeSantis, alongside leaders at Tampa General Hospital, are spreading the word about lifesaving antibody treatments that are helping thousands of patients statewide as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge.

TGH leaders tell ABC Action News that staffing is tight. ERs are full, but they’re also seeing some positive gains. They say antibody treatments are working and being used every day to save patients’ lives.

TGH alone is treating 136 covid patients as of Thursday afternoon at the hospital. 54 are in the ICU, 13 are on ventilators and of those 85% of those are unvaccinated, according to CEO John Couris.

Governor DeSantis is pointing to monoclonal antibody treatments as a pivotal way to keep people from being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19.

Tampa General Hospital was one of the first hospitals in the state to start using the antibody blood infusions inside their Global Emerging Diseases Institute and now they’re urging anyone who gets COVID-19 to talk to their doctor about using monoclonal antibody treatment.

“These are really, really important treatments. They help people recover more quickly; people have a less severe disease. They have less virus, so they are less likely to give it to somebody else,” explained Dr. Kami Kim.

“We can take care of you when you’re sick, but we would rather you not come here and the way to avoid coming here is to get vaccinated,” added Dr. Charles Lockwood.

1,600 patients have been given monoclonal antibody treatments at TGH. Doctors say it prevents the virus from infecting our cells but it’s only effective when given within 7 days of symptoms starting.

Governor DeSantis is working to get more treatments like it available at hospitals statewide.