VDH stretched thin with monoclonal antibody treatments, looks to expand number of facilities offering treatment

Virginia

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — We’re days away from the holiday weekend and health officials on Capitol Hill are predicting another surge in COVIC-19 cases, this time with the highly contagious omicron variant.

3,720 doses of monoclonal antibodies: That’s how much the federal government gave to the Old Dominion in its most recent bi-monthly shipment.

“We’re actually kind of in a shortage mode now,” said Dr. Brooke Rossheim.

Rossheim, who serves as the public health physician specialist for the Virginia Department of Health, oversees the state’s allocation from the federal government and the distribution of doses.

“We’re expected to use all of our HHS allocation during this two-week period of time,” Dr. Rossheim stated.

He told 10 On Your Side that VDH is looking at expanding its fixed infusion sites and would add on to the more than 80 locations that are currently offering the FDA-approved COVID IV treatment — many in healthcare facilities.

It’s a plan state Sen. Bill DeSteph says he’s been pushing for since the fall, but instead of fixed sites he wants to see mobile infusion clinics opened throughout the state. North Carolina and Florida have been using mobile infusion centers for months to treat those with COVID-19 symptoms or those with comorbidities. DeSteph explains how the mobile sites could take some of the burden off of hospitals when people show up sick with COVID and have to wait hours for an infusion.

“This stopped him from checking into the hospital, this stopped her from checking into the hospital. They’re sitting in a waiting room at the hospital for 12-20 hours to get an infusion. It makes no sense,” DeSteph explained.

Rossheim says the mobile infusion centers have not been discussed by state health officials but could be an option if the monoclonal antibody shortage gets worse.

“We don’t know what the next two weeks will bring or the next month will bring or two months. So I wouldn’t take anything off the table. We don’t really want people to need monoclonal antibodies because they got vaccinated and they didn’t get COVID in the first place,” Rossheim said.

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Senatara COVID-19 Infographic (Dec. 2020)

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