Ducey announces $60M in funding to hospitals using COVID antibody drug

Sep 2, 2021, 4:35 AM | Updated: 1:06 pm
(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)...
(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday announced $60 million in funding to support understaffed state hospitals that administer COVID-19 antibody drugs and vaccines at discharge.

The funds will go to facilities that administer “proven techniques” that decrease COVID-19 related hospitalizations, such as administering monoclonal antibody treatments, as well as offering vaccination to patients as they are discharged, according to a press release. Monoclonal antibodies are made to block the virus’ entry and attachment to human cells.

Ducey said the funding is intended to decrease the risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations and stress on existing hospital staff, while increasing hiring opportunities.

The funding comes as the state continues to handle a surge in COVID-19 infections. Over the past seven days, Arizona was averaging more than 3,000 cases daily.

The latest documented totals were 1,0016,663 infections and 18,853 deaths, according to the ADHS COVID-19 dashboard. COVID-19 related hospitalizations have nearly quadrupled since the state’s third wave started in early July, with 2,057 people hospitalized as of Tuesday.

“This latest COVID-19 surge has been challenging for health care workers,” Linda Hunt, president and CEO of Dignity Health’s Southwest Division said in the release. “They are exhausted yet continue to step-up in the most heroic ways.

“The high volume of patients compounded by the shortage of doctors and nurses across the country is creating intense competition for a limited pool of nurses nationwide,” she said.

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Ducey announces $60M in funding to hospitals using COVID antibody drug