DALLAS - North Texas hospitals are receiving "very limited" supplies of a drug aimed at keeping COVID-19 hospitalizations low.
The governor announced the distribution of the therapeutic drug on Thursday, but local health officials said it’s scarcity and small window for delivery means it’ll have a limited impact on rising hospitalizations.
Texas is receiving the second highest number of doses of the Eli Lilly antibody therapy drug. Only Illinois is getting more.
“The future number of people going to hospitals should be on the decline going forward with the receipt of this drug,” Governor Greg Abbott said Thursday.
The drug is for people in a narrow window. It’s for those who are positive with COVID-19, who are not hospitalized, but have risk factors that make hospitalization more likely.
“It’s those sweet spot of patients. Those who are right in the middle, that could potentially be on the brink of entering the hospital,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, president of the Dallas County Medical Society.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services records show Texas received 5,780 vials of the drug in the first week, with the plan for recurring weekly shipments.
But in North Texas, the drug is in short supply.
Parkland said it initially received fewer than 100 doses.
John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth got 45.
Other hospitals, which did not share numbers, said only supplies are limited.
And the DFW Hospital Council, which didn't have a specific number, said the impact of the drug, as far as keeping patients out of the hospital, will be minimal.
“I’m not even sure I would go so far to say a small tool for getting our hospitalizations under control just yet,” Dr. Casanova added. “With limited supply, we’re going to have limited impact, and a limited number of individuals to treat. With the time, the hope and anticipation is we’ll have a greater supply.”
But Dr. Casanova said there is not time to wait for a larger supply, with hospitalizations climbing.
It will come down to personal responsibility.
“Oh no, we have no time to wait, to wait for a greater supply of anti-body therapy. We have no time to wait at this time for the eventual approval of vaccines that are coming down the pike. We need to act now,” he said.
Ultimately, the Texas Department of State Health Services is coordinating the distribution of the drug.
FOX 4 reached out to department to find out how many doses are going to North Texas, but our emails and calls weren't returned.
The state's emergency management chief, Nim Kidd, did say about the medical advances announced on Thursday: “Just because you have a seat belt in your car, doesn't mean you can go out and speed and drive reckless.”