PUNTA GORDA, Florida—The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Florida reached a pandemic record of 15,715 on Aug. 15, the most recent date for which data was available.
The record level of hospitalizations was reached despite a four-day decline in new COVID-19 hospital admissions reported on Aug. 14. New admissions for patients with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus dropped 2,207 that day, down from a record-high 2,329 reported for Aug. 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tampa General Hospital (TGH) had 90 percent of its beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients occupied, according to the hospital website.
“Out of 1,041 beds 231 of those are being occupied by COVID-19 patients,” Phil Buck, spokesman for the hospital, said in an email. “The number of beds we have available for COVID patients varies as TGH is able to increase our capacity in accordance with any surge in cases.”
More than 1,600 patients have been treated by Tampa General with monoclonal antibody infusions. Dr. Kami Kim, director of infectious diseases and international medicine at the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine, is leading the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, using monoclonal antibody therapy.
“By targeting towards the virus, this therapy prevents infection that can keep patients out of the emergency room,” Kim said at a recent press conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “People have less severe disease and aren’t going to give it to others; it’s an important treatment.”
On Aug. 16, DeSantis announced that another site had opened to give people the option of the monoclonal antibody treatment, with further sites planned.
Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller said she had first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies because her daughter, who is immunocompromised, had COVID-19 symptoms last week. She said she knew she had to get her daughter the treatment.
“It’s true; I’ve seen it,” she said at the press conference. “She had a high fever and after the monoclonal antibodies treatment, within 24 hours, her fever subsided, and she began to feel better.”
“This treatment radically reduces hospital admissions,” DeSantis said at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. “If you test positive and you have chronic health issues, it can make a difference.”
Monoclonal antibodies have been described as molecules acting as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance, or mimic the immune system’s attack on viruses. Monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 may block the virus from attaching to human cells, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm, and may also neutralize the virus.
Monoclonal antibody therapy is most beneficial when given immediately following the onset of symptoms or upon diagnosis of COVID-19, according to the TGH website.
Correction: a previous version of the article cited incorrect totals for new hospital admissions in Florida and incorrectly described percentage for the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients at Tampa General Hospital. The Epoch Times regrets the errors.