Gov. Ron DeSantis returned to Jacksonville Thursday, his second visit of the week to downtown’s Bay Street.
DeSantis had said earlier in the week he was “happy” with COVID-19 trends in the hard-hit Northeast Florida city, at an event at the Sheriff’s Office where the Sheriff was absent because of a positive coronavirus test.
The Governor stressed the positive Thursday also, introducing the launch of a mobile response unit to bring monoclonal antibody therapy to those who need it the most: high-risk populations, including the elderly and those with health issues.
“We’re the most vaccinated state in the Southeast, but you see this delta variant, more contagious, easier to transmit, it comes in waves,” DeSantis said, urging again monoclonal antibody therapy and saying a lot more Regeneron is coming into Florida.
Many patients would see improvement within 24 to 48 hours, DeSantis said.
If more people had known about this, DeSantis said, fewer would have “ended up needing to get admitted to the hospital.”
“The core group of people to benefit from this,” DeSantis said, are those with comorbidities and health challenges, and the treatment could reduce the likelihood of hospitalization by 75%.
“If you do it early, it really does help to resolve the symptoms,” DeSantis said.
“They’re going to start by taking referrals from the health systems,” DeSantis added, saying individual appointments would be allowed in the future.
“There’s clear benefits to this early treatment for keeping people out of the hospital and reducing mortality,” DeSantis said, noting that IV and subcutaneous options are available for treatment.
DeSantis said strike teams would bring the treatment into nursing homes also.
“You can go in and offer the Regeneron to them,” DeSantis said, arguing doing so could stop infections early before them become severe.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was there to lend a helping hand.
“People need to know this exists,” Curry said.
Others, including Director of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie, thanked DeSantis for his leadership.
Absent from this event, meanwhile, was Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried noted the state’s chief health officer’s background in pediatrics.
“It would be nice to hear something from him,” Fried tweeted.
DeSantis’ office didn’t explain why the Surgeon General was not at the event. He did tell media the Surgeon General likely would issue a standing order to allow access to people to make appointments for the treatments, however.
Meanwhile, the worst may be over in Duval, or at least getting closer. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows some declines in terms of seven day “rolling averages.”
For the seven days ending Aug. 10, cases are down 2% over the previous week, and the positive test rate is slightly down also. However, the week saw more than 8,100 new cases of COVID-19 and still a 25% positive test rate.
Fourty-three percent of all hospital beds, and 56% of all ICU beds, are occupied by COVID-19 patients currently. These numbers are up week over week.
“COVID’s not going to go away,” DeSantis said.