COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The Brazos Valley Regional Antibody Infusion Center opened Thursday at College Station, but initial demand for treatment was not as high as state and local authorities l ‘had hoped.

This could lead to the withdrawal of resources from the center and potential closure if the trend does not change. St. Joseph’s health director Billy Rice said only 10 to 15 infusions have been given per day since the center opened at the St. Joseph primary care site near Tower Point.

“We have a fairly large infusion center in place, so we can currently treat up to around 60 a day, with the capacity to go up to 120 if we need it,” Rice said. “We believe the need is real. We really feel like if we just got the word out a little more and let people know how easy it is to get into the infusion center, those numbers will likely increase, and we will likely continue to support this project for at least another month or so.

As a result, the center risks shrinking.

“If it’s not needed here, it’s needed in another part of the country,” Rice said. “The staff who came are all travel workers who came to help organize this thing, and they’re going to be moving to another part of the country where there’s a need. “

Brazos County Judge Duane Peters is one of the officials who helped bring the center to town. He encourages anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to get this treatment because it worked so well for him after being diagnosed in June.

“This is the treatment I received, and within 36 hours of the treatment I was back to work,” said Peters. “I have a ranch and I used to work there. “

Peters says he started showing allergy-like symptoms on a Tuesday night. The next morning he says he started to have a slight fever. He tested positive for the virus and received the infusion treatment later that same day.

Peters says he truly believes the infusion kept him from finally entering the intensive care unit.

“There’s really no doubt in my mind because I was having trouble breathing during that time,” Peters said. “I believe that without the monoclonal antibodies, and maybe the budesonide, I certainly could have ended up in the hospital.”

However, the infusion center is not only an important tool for COVID patients. It is also vital for healthcare workers.

“If we fail to get the infusion center working here, it will fall back on our hospitals which are already at full capacity and are already treating much sicker patients,” Rice said. “They will have to remove staff who are in emergency or intensive care or wherever they are, to make infusions on less sick patients.”

Monoclonal antibody treatment is free for anyone who needs it, but patients must be referred by a doctor to get it. If you do not have a doctor, you can call the infusion center directly at 979-690-4478 to make an appointment for an evaluation.

“It’s really about trying to catch the patients early on, so they can call the number and see a doctor here who is there and assess them, make sure they meet the criteria and bring in, ”Rice said. noted. “We know the need is there. We try to catch patients early in their infection so they don’t end up in intensive care. We want to keep patients safe and healthy, bring them home and feel better. “

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