192 COVID cases, 2 local deaths reported in single day for Port Arthur and Mid County

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

On the same day the Port Arthur Health Department reported 114 new COVID cases and the Beaumont Health Department saw 147 new cases, the county announced that the Regional Infusion Center would be screening patients strenuously due to a lack of available doses.

The following day on Wednesday morning, the City of Port Arthur Health Department is reporting confirmations of 119 for Port Arthur, 24 for Groves, 36 for Nederland and 13 for Port Neches. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases reported on Tuesday is 192 for Port Arthur and Mid County.

“It is with great sadness that the Port Arthur Health Department is reporting COVID-19 related deaths in residents of Port Arthur and Nederland,” the department said in a statement. “The individual from Port Arthur was an African American female between 80-85, and the resident of Nederland was a White female between the age range of 80-85.”

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On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency authorization of Regeneron and Eli Lilly, two of the three monoclonal antibody drugs, according to the Associated Press. Neither have proven effective against the omicron variant.

However, Sotrovimab, the only effective treatment, has been in short supply for some time.

In early January, Jefferson County requested 1,000 doses of the medicine for the infusion center that treats COVID-positive patients in Jefferson, Hardin, Orange and Jasper counties. That week they were sent 126 and only 84 the week prior, said Todd Senters with Baptists Hospitals of Southeast Texas.

County Judge Jeff Branick said in a written statement Tuesday that the state-funded center, located in Beaumont, would only be able to treat 80-180 patients each week.

“The State of Texas has requested that the federal government allow it to purchase approved monoclonals directly from the manufacturers, but such request has not been acted upon by the feds as of yet,” he said.

“While there are a few other monoclonals or pills which have proven effective, according to the FDA, none of these (Veklury , Paxlovid pill by Pfizer and molnupiravir pill by Merck) have been made available to our Regional Infusion Center or local pharmacies for administration. We are advised that local pharmacies should start receiving the Pfizer and Merck pills within a week or so.”

The judge said such medications would require a prescription.

Earlier this month, Senters said the lack of Sotrovimab had forced the infusion center to revert to guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when treatments first began — those with underlying health conditions and/or those at high risk for hospitalization or death.

Branick said after this weakened, the county would make a decision on how many days and/or hours the infusion center could open due to the lack of medications.

Of the COVID numbers reported by Port Arthur Tuesday, 48 were from Port Arthur, 20 from Groves, 27 from Nederland, and 19 from Port Neches.