Monument Health experiencing COVID-19 treatment shortage, prioritizing care for patients

Coronavirus

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — A nationwide shortage of monoclonal antibodies is impacting patients at Monument Health. 

Monoclonal antibodies are an effective treatment for certain COVID-19 patients. One Sioux Falls couple told KELOLAND News they were glad to receive the outpatient treatment. 

Monument Health has been dealing with a surge of COVID-19 patients since August. Brandi Tackett, the Director of Infusion Therapy at Monument Health, said the hospital has been using 200 monoclonal antibody treatments per week. 

This week, Monument Health received only 96 doses. 

Monument Health is dealing with 101 COVID-19 occupied hospital beds, 23 COVID-19 occupied adult ICU beds and 21 COVID-19 patients are on ventilators.

“We really hope this is a temporary shortage, so we can return to treating everyone who meets the criteria for this medication,” Tackett said in a news release.  “We’re asking referring physicians to continue sending us referrals, because supplies could increase in the future.”

Monument Health said it will follow National Institutes of Health guidelines for prioritizing which patients can receive the monoclonal antibody treatment.

  • Those already infected with COVID-19 will be given priority over at-risk patients with known exposure.
  • Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 will be given priority over those who are vaccinated and relatively healthy.
  • Vaccinated individuals who are not expected to mount an adequate immune response (e.g., immunocompromised individuals) will be given priority over the vaccinated and relatively healthy.

Monoclonal antibodies are not a substitute for a COVID-19 vaccine, Tackett emphasized. The treatment is offered at all five Monument Health markets. 

Nine members of the South Dakota National Guard were deployed earlier this month to help with COVID-19 testing. They will be in the Black Hills until the end of the month, if not longer.

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