SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – While positive cases of COVID-19 remain steady in South Dakota, so does the chance for people to get antibody infusion treatments.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus have been turning to Sanford Health’s infusion center in Sioux Falls.
“You know, we probably average about 10 to 15 a day. That outpatient unit is open seven days a week,” Sanford’s Director of Outpatient Cancer Services Kelly Carlson said.
Carlson says the one-time antibody infusion used to treat symptoms has made a difference.
“For the most part, people have reported that they are feeling better, like, that their symptom burden has decreased within 48 hours,” Carlson said.
Depending on the severity, for some patients, it can take longer. They have nurses monitor patients to see if they’re eligible to get the infusion. While she monitors positive tests that pop up in town, keeping an eye on rural communities is Vice President of Nursing for the Sanford Health Network Amy Thiese.
“We also make sure that we can provide the best care and the same care that they would receive here at a tertiary center or Sioux Falls,” These said.
In November, they stood antibody clinics at their rural outpatient centers and administered 198 individual patients.
“Again, 198 folks across our Sioux Falls rural footprint that were able to stay home and recover from COVID through the use of those antibody therapies,” Thiese said.
With vaccines now being administered, Thiese says it provides hope for the future of the virus. Right now, they’re working across neighboring states to determine the best way to deploy the vaccines.
“There is not as much vaccine available as people who want the vaccine, and what I would just encourage people to know is that as the vaccine becomes available, we’ll have vaccine for you – whatever state you reside in. It’s just going to take a little bit of time,” Thiese said.
But right now, it’s about making this option to receive an infusion convenient for those who are interested.
“It really speaks to trying to identify where the need is and stepping up to meet that need,” Carlson said.
Carlson says that the COVID outpatient infusion is being provided in certain nursing homes in South Dakota. This is to make it easier on what she calls ‘an already fragile population.’