Presbyterian infusion clinic reduces COVID-19 hospitalizations

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The COVID Infusion Clinic at Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital has been offering treatments of remdesivir and bamlanivimab since December. Staff has seen how it has helped lessen the burden on hospitals.

The outpatient clinic will offer patients the treatment that fits them.

"The remdesivir, which is the antiviral, is for people with more severe COVID disease. Those are people that maybe require oxygen, or would have been hospitalized,” Elizabeth Holguin, the community health medical director. "And then the bamlanivimab, which is the monoclonal antibody, is just a one time treatment. That’s for people with more mild to moderate symptoms, and they need to have one other chronic condition, like asthma.”

Depending on the drug being used, patients can receive treatments for a few days, with each visit taking 30 minutes to an hour with observation time.

Holguin said some people have minor side effects like fever or nausea, but most patients start feeling better from day one. She also explained how the treatments have helped Presbyterian hospitals.

“Counting our Albuquerque location in addition to Ruidoso, Clovis, Socorro, Española, Tucumcari and Santa Fe, we have seen 274 remdesivir patients and 561 bamlanivimab patients. What the really exciting thing is that if you just go with the 274 remdesivir patients, we’ve saved over 1,370 hospital days for people,” she said.

She added that bamlanivimab has helped reduced hospital admissions at Presbyterian by 70% since the treatments began.

Most insurances cover the treatments, but patients need to be referred by a health care provider.

A website is being built where people can refer themselves without a doctor. The clinic staff will decide if they are eligible for treatments.

There’s no date yet on when the website will be up and running, but Holguin said it could be soon.