Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Sept. 1 announced $60 million in funding to support hospitals using techniques that decrease COVID-19 hospitalizations, including the monoclonal antibody treatment.
The funds are meant to help designated hospitals hire health care staff at a time when the nation’s hospitals are competing for a shrinking pool of nurses and doctors.
“This funding opportunity will decrease stress on existing hospital staff, increase hiring opportunities and decrease the risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona,” Ducey, a Republican, said in a statement.
The Republican governors of Texas and Florida have also dedicated state resources to support the use of monoclonal antibody therapy. Regeneron, the maker of the therapy, has shipped the largest share of doses in recent weeks to Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the company told The Epoch Times.
If administered in the early stages of infection, monoclonal antibodies appear to reduce the risk of patients developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is making the case that his surge of support for the therapy has helped drive down the hospitalizations from the peak levels recorded last month.
“The high volume of patients compounded by the shortage of doctors and nurses across the country is creating intense competition for a limited pool of nurses nationwide. I am grateful for Governor Ducey’s actions today to bring more health care workers to Arizona as we navigate through this latest surge,” Linda Hunt, CEO of Dignity Health’s Southwest Division, said in a statement.
The $60 million Ducey deployed on Sept. 1 is the third round of funding to support Arizona’s hospitals amid the pandemic. The governor invested $25 million in November 2020 and $60 million in December 2020 to bolster hospital staffing.
White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci last month supported the use of the antibody treatment, telling reporters at a COVID-19 briefing that the therapy can reduce the risk of severe illness by 70 to 85 percent.
“This is a very effective intervention for COVID-19. It is underutilized, and we recommend strongly that we utilize this to its fullest,” Fauci said.
“It is important to emphasize that this must be done early in infection and not wait, of course, until a person is sick enough to be hospitalized,” Fauci said. “That’s when you get the best effect. And again, being an underutilized intervention, we want people out there, including physicians as well as potential patients, to realize the advantage of this very effective way of treating early infection.”