Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is asking the Biden administration for help in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Texas after the state Department of Health says they have run out of an antibody treatment that has proven to be the most effective against the omicron variant.
Abbott on Friday issued a statement saying the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) were requesting resources for federally supported test sites in Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo and Tarrant counties. .
The governor said the state health department has also asked three teams of medical staff to provide additional support to urban hospitals in the state that do not have DSHS-contracted staff, as well as additional allocations of monoclonal antibody treatments to combat the omicron variant and other variants of the virus. .
“Detecting COVID-19 and preventing COVID-related hospitalizations is crucial to our fight against this virus,” Abbott said in a prepared statement. “Test sites, additional medical personnel, and continued shipments of federal government treatment will help us continue to save lives and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
That’s what the governor said in a statement Friday The Biden administration has cut back on the supply of monoclonal antibody treatments and test kits when needed most, the state of Texas urges the federal government to step up in this fight and provide the necessary resources to help protect Texans. “
Since March 2021, the governor has applauded his position that remedial efforts, such as mask or vaccine mandates, are not a matter for the state, and has instead asked Texans to take personal responsibility and use the tools they know work when fighting pandemics. .
Meanwhile, as new cases of COVID-19 increase, infusion centers across the state are said to have exhausted their supply of sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody-therapeutic agent currently available under an emergency use permit to treat those infected with the more transferable omicron variant.
The lack of therapeutic funds is due to a national shortage, according to the state agency. The centers are expected to receive new shipments in early January, as previously announced by the federal government.
Earlier this week, DSHS said other monoclonal antibodies have not been shown to be effective against the omicron variant, which now accounts for more than 90% of new cases; on Friday, DSHS said a further allotment of sotrovimab has been requested to help treat the growing number of infected Texans.
The agency also asked the federal government to continue to supply Texas with Regeneron and bamlanivimab, monoclonal antibody treatments that have been shown to help reduce hospital admissions across the state for those suffering from other strains of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden said last week that the federal government would buy half a billion COVID-19 rapid test kits and distribute them free of charge to people at home. But despite the high public demand for testing, it will still be several weeks before these kits are available to be shipped. The administration is still working on details of how the program will work.
COVID cases are rising in DFW, Texas
In the past week, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has skyrocketed across the state, while hospital admissions in DFW have doubled. The molecular positivity reported by the state Department of Health on Thursday was at a record high since the pandemic began nearly two years ago.
On Tuesday, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas reported that the patient load had doubled in just four days. The hospital said staff are preparing to open two more COVID-19 wards by the end of this week. Dr. Joseph Chang, chief physician at Parkland, said most of the COVID-19 patients who end up in the hospital are unvaccinated.