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Asante working to expand COVID-19 emergency therapy

Asante is hoping to expand monoclonal antibody treatment in hopes of easing pressure on local hospitals.

Posted: Aug 25, 2021 6:32 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2021 10:19 AM

ASHLAND, Ore. – Every day more and more people are being hospitalized with COVID-19 in Jackson County. To help reduce this strain, Asante is working to implement monoclonal therapy.

One of Asante’s infectious disease experts say that monoclonal antibodies attach to the coronavirus spike protein and prevents the virus from attaching to our cells and attacking them.

The hope is that this therapy could help reduce hospitalizations in our area by treating hundreds of people across Jackson County who are suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19; potentially preventing the virus from progressing and sending patients to hospitals that are already overwhelmed.

“Large studies, including over 700-800 patients show that these drugs have the potential to reduce hospitalizations by 70% as compared to patients who didn’t receive it,” said Pratibha Seshadri, infectious disease expert with Asante, “This could take a huge burden off of our overflowing hospitals.”

The monoclonal antibody treatment is free whether you have insurance or not.

One of the hurdles that Asante must overcome before using the recently approved emergency therapy is staffing.

Right now, Asante doesn’t have the staffing capacity to open another location to provide the therapy.

“We aren’t sure if we’ll be able to keep up with the demand so I think we will have to figure this out in the coming weeks as to where else we can safely bring in these patients,” said Seshadri.

Right now, monoclonal therapy is available for people with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 at Asante Ashland Community Hospital. Asante officials have confirmed with NewsWatch 12 that they are working on getting the therapy treatment at their Black Oak facility.

While monoclonal therapy could help treat mild or moderate COVID-19, Seshadri warns, it is not a replacement for getting vaccinated.

“I do want to highlight, folks who receive this (therapy) should still get vaccinated down the line. Right now, the recommendation is to wait 90 days (after infection) before getting vaccinated. I don’t want anyone to go away with the impression that this provides life-long protection,” said Seshadri.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 4161
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Morrow181623
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Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
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Wheeler991
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