At 130% capacity, Hendrick sets up new infusion clinic to combat COVID symptoms

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The State of Texas has sent medical staff to Abilene to help with the latest COVID-19 surge as they are operating over capacity. 

“We are still struggling to keep the staffing for our ICU beds throughout the hospital,” said Dr. Rob Wiley, chief medical officer for Hendrick Health. 

Wiley says they are currently operating at 130% capacity. 

“We have now received some nursing and RT support from the state through the STAR program, I think 50 nurses,” said Wiley. 

Wiley says all Hendrick ICU beds are full. 

“More than two thirds are on ventilators right now,” said Wiley. 

To help treat COVID-19-positive patients, Hendrick has set up an infusion clinic. 

“It’s been shown to decrease hospitalizations, decrease ER visits, decrease deaths, decrease severity of the disease,” said Wiley. 

The infusion is an intravenous treatment process that inserts antibodies and medicine into the body. 

“Studies have shown that it decreases by about 70%. At Hendrick, we’ve seen it decrease by 92%,” said Wiley. 

The new clinic is at 1018 North 13th Street. 

To qualify you must test positive for COVID-19, be seen within the first 10 days of symptoms, you’ll need to be 65 years or older, or if you’re 12-64 with an underlying condition such as asthma or diabetes. 

You will need a referral from a physician or you can fill out a self-referral form found on Hendrick’s website.

Dr. Annie Drachenberg, Health Authority for the Public Health District says unless people get vaccinated there are no signs of this surge slowing down.

“Now is the time to definitely be careful,” said Drachenberg. “There are plenty of vaccines available and vaccines are effective against this variant.” 

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