By Bethany Blankley
A new alternate care site has been established in Lubbock to expand hospital capacity, and a regional infusion center in Austin has also been expanded, two new efforts among many announced by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) in its response to providing resources and aid to Texans who test positive for the coronavirus.
In Lubbock, the site opened Monday in partnership with the city of Lubbock, Lubbock County, Covenant Health System, and UMC Health System in an effort to expand hospital capacity in the region.
The new alternate care site is located at the former Grace Medical Center designed to provide the South Plains with additional hospital beds and medical equipment. It has also brought in additional medical personnel to assist with the region’s COVID-19 response. The facility has a capacity of 20 beds, although it could expand to hold more.
Austin’s regional infusion center first opened Jan. 6 with 9 infusion chairs. Since then, its medical staff have treated 279 patients. The new expansion includes an additional 24 infusion chairs, and additional staff and medical equipment.
Now the center will be able to increase capacity to treat a greater number of COVID-19 patients every day, TDEM says. In collaboration with Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White, and St. David’s Healthcare, the regional infusion center will be provided with a regular supply of monoclonal antibody therapy to treat patients, who meet certain criteria, with a referral from a hospital or doctor.
The infusion treatments, Gov. Greg Abbott says, “are essential in our fight to keep hospitalizations down and save lives."
Infusion centers have been established throughout the state whereby local organizations and governments partner with TDEM and the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force.
Multiple maps and search engines to find therapeutic centers by region and zip code are available on the TDEM website. A search result provides the name of the therapeutics provider, information about physician order requirements, the address and phone number of the center, a map and location information, and information about which therapy the center has in stock, BAM or REGN.