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Newhouse calls on Inslee to support a type of COVID-19 therapy, hospitals

by Staff report
| September 28, 2021 1:05 AM

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., on Wednesday sent a letter to Gov. Inslee calling on him to prioritize and publicly acknowledge the success and the availability of monoclonal antibody therapy as a tool that has the ability to save lives and reduce the number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in Washington, according to a press release from Newhouse.

Theresa Sullivan, CEO of Samaritan Healthcare of Moses Lake, was quoted in the release as supportive of the letter.

“According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, monoclonal antibody treatments have been distributed to only 30 health centers across Washington state. At the same time, as of September 9th, the statewide ICU occupancy of COVID-19 patients was over 34%,” wrote Rep. Newhouse, according to the release. “I continue to hear from hospital CEOs, doctors, nurses, and support staff that they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, mostly as a result of the spread of the Delta variant.”

Rep. Newhouse continued, “While some hospitals have been able to administer monoclonal antibody treatments to patients, I have heard from other providers that while they stand willing to participate, they are lacking proper state support to do so.”

Rep. Newhouse concluded, “As our hospitals and health care systems continue their fight against COVID-19, I urge you to prioritize this safe and effective method of treatment and equip our state with the resources possible to administer it to patients in need. It is crucial that Washingtonians have accessibility to this life-saving therapy, and I look forward to working with you to help them overcome this challenge.”

Central Washington hospital leaders expressed their support for Rep. Newhouse’s letter.

“Samaritan Healthcare is committed to ensuring our community has ready access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Monoclonal antibodies can reduce severity of illness for some patients. While we have been providing monoclonal antibody infusions for several months, we would like to see more options for administering this treatment. Making injections available instead of just infusions could shorten time required of staff and could be done outside the hospital to free up our resources for more critical care needs. We thank Congressman Newhouse for his advocacy on this issue,” said Sullivan, as quoted in the release.

“While COVID vaccines are the gold standard to prevent people from getting COVID-19 in the first place, we fully support the use of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for COVID patients. Increased availability of this treatment would likely free up critical space in hospital beds in Yakima and across the state during this relentless surge,” said Dr. Marty Brueggemann, Chief Medical Officer of Yakima Valley Memorial, in the release.