RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Randolph County’s only monoclonal infusion center at Randolph Primary Care hasn’t been able to treat any patients all week.
Dr. Jason Van Eyk said he’s remained in contact with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to secure more REGEN-COV, the medication used for infusions.
He typically has the capacity for 100 patients weekly at the Asheboro clinic.
“It is serious. We’re going to see more hospitalizations,” Dr. Van Eyk said. “We get anywhere from 40 to 50 referrals a day. That doesn’t mean we’re going to infuse all those people, but we screen these people.”
He’s had to refer those patients to other providers as administering REGEN-COV is a time-sensitive process.
“We have a 10-day window in order to infuse them from their symptoms, so people are not getting infused, and that’s going to have serious implications for their health,” Dr. Van Eyk explained.
Providers are working with NCDHHS after a new ordering system was rolled out at the federal and state level. A spokesperson for the NCDHHS said the state’s distribution system will get the critical drug where it’s needed most.
“The federal government gave the state 6,500 units for this week, and from what the state has told me, they had 13,000 requests for 6,500 units,” Dr. Van Eyk said.
He’s expecting about 60 units early next week but says that could change.
Larger providers like Cone Health, Novant Health and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist aren’t feeling the pinch right now.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Christopher Ohl says that could change soon.
“It’s a hard drug to make, and they are trying to ramp up production, but it’s going to take a while, and I have a feeling we’re going to be in a situation where we’re going to have shortages of those drugs in the next week or so,” he said.
Novant Health issued the following statement:
“We have Regeneron monoclonal antibodies and are actively treating COVID-19 patients across markets. At this time, we expect to continue treating patients with monoclonal antibodies without issue and are working closely with NC DHHS to understand the new ordering processes being rolled out at the federal and state level.”