AUSTIN, Texas — Austin's new infusion center for monoclonal antibody therapy will begin accepting patients starting Wednesday, according to Gov. Greg Abbott's office.
The center – which was first announced by local officials on Dec. 30 – has been established by the Texas Division Of Emergency Management (TDEM) to treat outpatient cases of COVID-19. The center has been provided with Regeneron to treat patients who meet certain criteria and have a referral from a hospital or doctor, according to the governor's office.
"This infusion center will help us expand access to therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 in the Austin community," Abbott said. "Reducing hospitalizations is a crucial component of our response to COVID-19, and we will continue to work with our local partners to ensure they have the resources they need to keep their communities safe."
Local leaders said on Dec. 30 that the center, a modified 18-wheeler trailer, would be located in southeast Travis County and staffing would be provided by the TDEM.
"This is something that when people in a high-risk category test positive for COVID, they can get an infusion, which in many people will reduce the severity of their symptoms," Travis County Judge Andy Brown said.
Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County's interim health authority, said local hospital systems have already been providing this infusion therapy at their facilities, largely at infusion centers, but having this additional external center will help alleviate stress on those already busy hospitals.
"This therapy has been shown to be successful at reducing the risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, so we're hopeful that it will help contribute to decreasing the stress on our health care system," Dr. Escott said.
The center has been established through a partnership between TDEM, Travis County, the City of Austin and the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
Austin City Council Member-elect Vanessa Fuentes released a statement praising the center.
"I’m pleased that starting today Austinites who have tested positive for COVID-19 can receive crucial therapeutic treatments to help fight the disease upon referral by their health care provider," Fuentes said. "Expanding access to resources and treatment for the highly infectious coronavirus is of critical importance to our vulnerable communities."
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