Texas governor firm on no shutdowns as COVID-19 treatment arrives

Erica Simon Image
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Virus treatment takes hour to administer, Abbott says
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In what is being seen as a breakthrough in Texas' fight against COVID-19, Gov. Abbott gave details into the first virus treatment to roll out in the state.

LUBBOCK, Texas (KTRK) -- With Texas topping 20,000 COVID-19 deaths, as well as setting a single day record for new cases with 12,293, Gov. Greg Abbott offered some hope in the state's battle with the virus.

On Thursday, the governor announced the first medical treatment for the coronavirus has arrived in Texas. Bamlanivimab will be given to those with the most dire need.

Bamlanivimab was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 9 to treat mild to moderate coronavirus infections in adults and children.

RELATED: FDA gives emergency OK to Lilly's antibody treatment for coronavirus

Abbott said the the treatment is similar to how IV drip bags are administered, and it takes an hour to complete.

The treatment is made by Eli Lilly & Co. and has been shown to improve the symptoms of people who contract the virus and prevent hospitalizations, according to the FDA.

Lilly has shipped approximately 80,000 doses across the country, including Texas, at no cost to the states. Lilly should have up to 1 million doses by the end of the year.

Abbott has said the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has developed a vaccine distribution plan and was working with health care providers to enroll in their immunization program to be eligible to administer these vaccines once available. Over 2,500 providers have already enrolled in the program.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Abbott's plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine, medicine

After the briefing, Abbott's office stated the treatment will be distributed as early as next week to acute care hospitals across every geographic region of the state.

"This initial allotment of bamlanivimab will help health care professionals effectively treat cases of COVID-19 within their communities and aid in reducing hospitalizations," said the governor.

In terms of the treatment's arrival in the Houston area, DSHS told ABC13 local hospitals are already receiving bamlanivimab.

Houston Methodist confirmed receiving its allocation and is setting up the infusion process to treat patients.

As far as who's prioritized to get the treatment, Abbott indicated more people will be eligible to get it than first realized.

Current COVID-19 data in the state, from Texas Department of State Health Services

Gov. Abbott firm on avoiding another statewide shutdown

Despite 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stood firm on avoiding another lockdown. He gives his reason in the video above.

During the same briefing announcing the treatment's arrival, the governor was also asked about ordering another shutdown, which he reaffirmed as unlikely to happen soon.

Abbott said aside from the medical, emotional and financial reasons to avoid locking down, there's also a "lesser known" reason. He said the data he has seen suggests the spread of the virus is more likely to happen in social, casual settings rather than occupational ones.

"Shutdowns will not lead to the positive results that people think," Abbott said.

Abbott also addressed how local authorities individually enforce restrictions, adding that various leaders aren't using the tools that he gave them.

"There are plenty of tools and the tool boxes of local authorities to achieve the goals that are needed," Abbott said.

SEE MORE: Gov. Abbott sets 15% hospitalization rate threshold for counties to impose restrictions

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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