FORT MYERS, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis visited Lee County to highlight the successes seen in Florida since the deployment of state-run monoclonal antibody treatment sites. Since opening these sites, the 7-day average of new adult hospital admissions has fallen 80%.
“Florida has administered over 130,000 monoclonal antibody treatments, saving thousands of people from being admitted to the hospital. There is no doubt that many lives have been saved as a result of making these treatments widely available,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Recently, the Biden administration decided to severely cut the amount of Regeneron monoclonal antibodies being sent to Florida and other disfavored states. That was concerning because there was a significant demand for the treatments and we wanted to make sure that if folks needed it, they were able to get it. I looked to see what other options were available for Florida. There was another very effective monoclonal antibody treatment called Sotrovimab made by GlaxoSmithKline that had recently received emergency use authorization. We went directly to GlaxoSmithKline, got Sotrovimab for Florida, and deployed it. It served as a bridge to get over the reductions, and fortunately, as a result of the success of early treatment, our infections are now so low that we have gone from thousands to hundreds of treatments per day. Florida is one of the only states in the country that currently has hospital admissions for COVID below pre-Delta levels and is also one of the five lowest states for daily infections.”
“The State of Florida has continued to ensure monoclonal antibody treatments are widely available in Florida for all who need them,” said Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Surgeon General of Florida. “Not only has it alleviated demand on the hospital system, but it has saved countless lives by administering more than 130,000 treatments since August 12. Responding to COVID-19 does not have one solution, but requires innovative strategies just like this, and the Department of Health continues to support these missions under the Governor’s leadership.”
Total COVID hospital census in our state has had 51 consecutive days of decline. The 7-day average in Florida for COVID-like illness emergency room visits is lower than 33 other states. To help reinforce Florida’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatment, the Governor secured thousands of doses of Sotrovimab directly from GlaxoSmithKline last month.
The Governor was joined at today’s event by Floridians who shared their stories about receiving monoclonal antibody treatment.
Doris and Wally Cortese have been married for more than 60 years and have seven children. Wally is a World War II and Korean War naval aviator veteran. Doris spoke about the couple’s recovery, saying: “As the governor said, [monoclonal antibody treatment] saves lives. It saved my husband’s life. You talk about a typical person who COVID should have taken. He just turned 96. He has a heart condition. He has COPD from smoking. He is diabetic. He woke up on a Tuesday morning and said, ‘I need to go to the hospital.’ We went and had him tested and I was tested. We both tested positive. He got the treatment and three days later he started feeling better. In six days, he was back to a hundred percent. I truly believe without our Governor and what he has done, my husband would not be here today in front of you to be a living proof of what this has done. I am just so thankful to the Governor for what he has done for our family and for all the other families.”
Michelle Albergo recently received Regeneron prophylactically, and her mother-in-law and father-in-law successfully recovered thanks to Sotrovimab. Michelle stated: “I’m a healthcare professional, and unfortunately I was exposed to COVID-19 on the job. I knew that monoclonal antibody treatments can also be used prophylactically, so I looked up the location near me and was able to make an appointment for my treatment. I never became symptomatic and I had the peace of mind knowing that if I did, my case would probably be much less severe. A week later, both my mother- and father-in-law tested positive for COVID-19. I advised them to immediately go to the Bonita Springs location for monoclonal antibodies. They made an appointment and received the GSK Sotrovimab infusion the very next morning. In about 24 hours, their symptoms subsided. They are now less than two weeks out from their diagnosis and they’re fully recovered. Thank you once again for putting the health of Floridians as a top priority, Mr. Governor, and for your fortitude to do what is right when so many in leadership positions have gotten it so wrong.”
The full video of the announcement is available for use here, courtesy Governor’s Press Office.