By Ginger Broomes
Covid numbers are falling in our region and fewer patients are being seen at infusion centers, this according to officials in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin and Jasper counties.
The Brooks Report Live spoke with county Judges from each of the counties collaborating with the Infusion Center at 5500 Eastex Freeway in Beaumont. The facility was opened in August to serve COVID-19 patients with Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment. These infusions have been proven to lessen the severity of the disease if given within the 10-day period following onset of symptoms.
With support from the State of Texas through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), the Offices of Emergency Management from Jefferson, Orange, Hardin and Jasper Counties, Baptist Hospital, Christus Hospital, Medical Center of Southeast Texas and Mid Jefferson Medical Center, the infusion center has averaged 150 patients daily since its beginning.
Now the center sees roughly 40-50 patients per day, a sign that Orange County Judge John Gothia said shows the numbers of infected are dropping.
“At the beginning we were seeing 165 a day and now we’re down to about 50 a day,” Gothia said. “It’s a miracle drug if given within the first ten days. We want to encourage people to use it.”
Gothia said another reason the center is seeing fewer patients is that the private sector now has the ability to offer infusions, which wasn’t the case in the beginning. He said there are no plans to close the centers due to the decrease in Covid infections, but the center is cutting the staff and the amount of beds as the need decreases.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick also emphasized that infection numbers are down. He said the center saw 33 patients on Sunday, and only 23 patients on Monday.
“The great news is that the number of infections per day has dropped dramatically. Numbers are on par with what we are seeing across the state,” Branick said. “Only San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas (centers) are seeing more (patients). But not much more. Maybe 10 or so more patients than we’re seeing.”
“The counties are drawing together to pay for the rent and utilities for the infusion center and the state takes care of the personnel. We just reduce the number of beds and staff, but there are no plans right now to close the center. We dropped the number of beds last week by a third.”
Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel also echoed the same sentiment about less patients being seen at the Eastex location. “Last Wednesday the decision was made to reduce beds by five,” he said. “Numbers have dropped. But on our biggest day, the center saw 188 patients, back in the beginning.”
“We’re seeing a drop in cases. As long as we can provide infusions, we will keep doing them. This keeps hospital beds open for other patients, and reduces fatigue on our medical staff and doctors,” Jasper County Judge Mark Allen told us. “Just like with the testing and vaccinations hubs. We’ll keep going until there’s no longer a need for it, whether the private sector can cover the need or the numbers of Covid infections drop off.”
“We’ll keep going until we see – I hope to see – the light at the end of the tunnel.”
If you test positive for Covid and do NOT have a doctor, you may call the hotline to schedule an appointment at (409)550-2536. Press option 1 for the infusion center. Patients must be confirmed COVID-19 positive before contacting the center. The calls will be screened by medical personnel for eligibility and individuals will be given an appointment date and time. You must be within the 10-day window of the onset of symptoms in order for the infusion to be effective.
Sponsored by Altus Lumberton Hospital, Blu’s Car Wash, Clayton Homes of Lumberton, The Garden District, Angie Benoit Lane – American Real Estate, Pink Rooster Treasures, Stewart
Bail Bonds and Ray of Hope