Outpatient COVID-19 infusions successful


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health’s outpatient COVID-19 infusions are making an impact on hospitalizations in the community.

In the late fall of 2020, Sanford Health began offering outpatient COVID-19 infusions to those at the highest risk of admission to the hospital. Dr. Jeremy Cauwels says so far about 1,000 infusions have been given in an effort to reduce hospitalizations.

“What we think is that we’ve probably been able to steer around probably 35 admissions and probably prevented between two and four deaths, just since we started these infusions in the late fall, early winter,” Cauwels said.

That’s in addition to reducing hospital stays for those who do end up admitted.

“If you talk to our hospital-based doctors, they would say that the people that get the infusion as an outpatient generally have a shorter hospital course, if they do get admitted. So rather than staying for the average of six or seven days for a COVID patient, they stay for about two,” Cauwels said.

The most important takeaway he says is that the infusion must be given early on in the diagnosis.

“If you are elderly or you have other medical conditions, make sure that if you get, think you might have COVID you get tested appropriately. So we can get you this kind of life-saving therapy early, because it doesn’t work if you give it late,” Cauwels said.

The infusions paired with COVID-19 vaccinations being distributed in KELOLAND could shine a promising light in the months ahead.

“You give me two months, three months, four months down the road. I think we can hopefully say that we won’t see another peak like we did in November,” Cauwels said.

Dr. Cauwels adds that while the infusions have been successful, masking and social distancing have also played a big role in the downward COVID trend in the community.

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