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State opens infusion clinic for COVID at Bothwell

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Bothwell Regional Health Center now has a clinic to provide monoclonal antibody infusions thanks to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

Pettis County was chosen with Jackson, Scott, Butler and Jefferson counties for the infusion treatment centers. The centers will be open for 30 days following Gov. Mike Parson’s Aug. 11 announcement that $15 million would be committed for the establishment of the monoclonal antibody infusion stations across Missouri.

"As the Delta variant continues to spread across the state and pose serious health risks to unvaccinated Missourians, our state teams are continuing to do everything possible to provide support and save lives," Parson said in a news release. "It is our hope that these infusion centers will help relieve hospital strain and health care worker fatigue as we move forward with our efforts to get more Missourians vaccinated. Just as we have done from the beginning, we will continue to work with our partners to identify resource needs and respond to this virus."

The state contract with SLSCO of Galveston, Texas, is estimated to treat around 4,000 patients over the 30-day period across the state. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that help patients fight COVID-19 and reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization in high-risk patients if administered soon after diagnosis.

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that can help your body fight off COVID-19 and reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization – if administered to high-risk patients soon after diagnosis. These antibodies mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful viruses like SARS-CoV-2, and they attack the virus and reduce its ability to spread through your body.

The SLS-run infusion clinics will take some of the strain off hospitals during the current rise of COVID patients.

“They bring their own supplies in,” said Bothwell Chief Nursing Officer Rose McMullin. “All their equipment, all their staff, all the documentation, everything is them. All we are doing is supplying the space.”

Parson’s funding will not only provide for the infusion centers but will give money for additional staff through the 30-day period.

“In order to determine how much funding each hospital got they went off how many beds they had,” said Lisa Irwin, Bothwell’s Human Resources Director. “Bothwell is eligible for $100,000 worth of contract staff through this funding assistance.”

The $100,000 in contract staff funding will cover one critical care unit registered nurse and one medical-surgical registered nurse for just under one month.

“The governor was hopeful that whenever we received this contract staff we would extend them with this agency,” Irwin said, “but we will not be doing that because of the cost.”

Starting Wednesday, the infusion centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week for the next month.

“They are very organized, and they've been wonderful to deal with,” said Bothwell CEO Lori Wightman. “They started arriving Sunday and their supplies arrived Monday. They are such a godsend to us because we were trying to cobble together staffing to do 10 or 15 infusions a day. So, I'm in the process of making sure all my colleagues in Warrensburg, Marshall, Clinton, are aware of this infusion center so they can refer their patients.”

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