Enloe Medical Center limits supply of COVID-19 monoclonal treatment as cases surge

As more coronavirus patients are admitted, hospitals are now cutting back on their orders of one life-saving treatment.

Posted: Sep 14, 2021 5:44 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2021 11:56 AM

CHICO, Calif. - As more coronavirus patients are admitted, hospitals are now cutting back on their orders of one life-saving treatment.

This week, Enloe Medical Center was notified that the Federal Department of Health and Human Services assumed the role of allocating the monoclonal antibody treatment.

For almost a year, Enloe has been using the monoclonal antibody infusion treatment to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and avoid hospitalizations.

Action News Now spoke with the chief medical officer at Enloe Hospital, Dr. Marcia Nelson about the impacts. 

RELATED: Butte County supervisors vote to extend COVID-19 local disaster proclamation

"Without having this treatment for people who have COVID, yes it will result in more people being hospitalized. That's just the bottom line," Dr. Nelson said.

Monoclonal antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the coronavirus.

Dr. Nelson says now that the supply used for this treatment is low, they'll be offering it on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"It's a shock because, even myself, oh I'm not going get it, then you do get it, and you realize it's bad, and someone close to you dies, it makes you stop and think, what is happening," Mickey Nelson, who is from Chico, said.

He tells Action News Now that he's had the coronavirus before and says he lost three friends from the virus.

"It's something you don't want to go through," he said.

As of Tuesday morning, Enloe has 72 COVID-19 patients, 83% are not fully vaccinated and 15 patients are in the ICU.

RELATED: Butte County surpasses 50% fully vaccinated for those who are eligible

"It's terrible, this is a small town that should not be going through this, not at all. I think people don't realize this is getting worse. It's worse now than when we had the lockdowns," Mickey Nelson said.

"The important thing is not to depend on the Monoclonal Antibody as the way to approach Covid it's never good to get Covid first and then hope there's a treatment, the best thing to do is not get Covid in the first place. Get vaccinated and wear a mask," Dr. Nelson said.

Dr. Nelson also says there are currently 13 coronavirus patients on ventilators. This is the most they've seen so far.

"Seeing this many people on ventilators makes me sad and frustrated because it doesn't have to be this way," she said. 

Enloe says the majority of COVID-19 patients, including the ones on ventilators, are unvaccinated. 

The hospital was also notified that rationing of this treatment is imminent and they may not receive the number of treatments they have requested.

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