State leaders seek blood donations that may help patients with COVID-19

Gov. DeSantis: Rate of those found to have virus' antibodies quadrupled in last 8 weeks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Your blood might be able to help patients with COVID-19, and state leaders are calling for donations.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday that the rate of those found to have the virus’ antibodies quadrupled in the last eight weeks.

Doctors at Flagler Health said there are three treatments that have shown positive results in fighting a case of COVID-19: the drugs remdesivir and dexamethasone and treatment with convalescent plasma, using blood from someone with COVID-19 antibodies.

“We are getting 30,000 more vials of remdesivir sent directly to the state of Florida, actually sent directly to the hospitals,” DeSantis said.

That’s enough for about 5,000-6,000 patients, and those drugs will arrive in the next few days, according to the governor.

But health officials said the limitation on the medicine is how much of it can be produced and distributed.

The limit on plasma treatment comes from how many people with antibodies donate.

“We have an opportunity to really step up our game in the state of Florida in terms of blood donations,” DeSantis said.

The antibody tests are available for the general public in Florida, and the rate of those that come back positive is growing. DeSantis said Friday’s results showed that 16% were positive for the antibodies -- that’s up from just 4% in early June.

“My plea would be that if you are positive for antibodies, if you have cleared the illness, please consider donating the blood because our physicians and medical personnel can use it,” DeSantis said.

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