NC will receive 30% fewer COVID-19 treatments weekly, health officials say
NC will receive 30% fewer COVID-19 treatments weekly, health officials say

NC will receive 30% fewer COVID-19 treatments weekly, health officials say

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – State health officials say that as soon as next week, North Carolina will receive fewer treatment courses for COVID-19 amid a dispute in Washington over how to fund the ongoing needs of the pandemic.

Dr. Susan Kansagra, Senior Vice President of Public Health for NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, said the state’s allocation of monoclonal antibody treatments from the federal government is set to drop by 30 percent, meaning 3,500 fewer courses of that treatment are. available on a weekly basis.

While cases and hospitalizations have dropped significantly since the height of the increase linked to the omicron variant, she said she is concerned about being adequately prepared for a future increase.

“Should cases start to rise again, it will set us back. And we will not be able to respond with the ability we have had so far, ”she said.

President Joe Biden has called on Congress to approve additional funding to help with tests, treatments, vaccinations and a host of other measures while the nation continues to deal with the pandemic. He originally requested $ 22.5 billion from Congress in new funding.

It was eventually reduced to $ 15.6 billion during negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, but was later pulled out of an spending package that Congress passed earlier this month, according to Hill.

Republican senators, including North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, signed a letter sent to President Biden in early March questioning the need for additional funding, as Congress had already approved nearly $ 6 trillion in spending. They asked for a “full account” of how this money has been spent and noted that some of it is still available.

On Friday, Republican Leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy said: “The money has already been allocated and has not been used. That’s where they need it.”

The Hill reported that some Democrats were protesting against taking that money back from states, which led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdrawing funding.

The White House says there are a number of concerns if this is not resolved. Among them, the nation is unable to maintain its current testing capacity last June. The administration will stretch the supply of monoclonal antibody treatments, which will lead to a reduction in what it allocates to states weekly.

In addition, the administration says there is insufficient funding to purchase additional booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans if they are ultimately needed.

A program that reimburses providers of treatments, tests and vaccinations to uninsured persons will be reduced this month and ends in early April.

“There would be major consequences for our public health and the recovery of COVID-19 if Congress does not act,” the U.S. rep. GK Butterfield (D-NC 1st District). “This is an urgent need.”

Dr. Kansagra said government officials are keeping an eye on the latest increase in cases occurring abroad, primarily driven by the omicron sub-variant BA.2. The US has tended to lag behind Europe by four to six weeks when it comes to COVID waves.

“Waiting to provide funding when we see an increase is too late. We know we have to plan now and plan early,” she said. “It’s a sign of what may come. We do not know in the future what the future will bring and whether there will be variants that cause more serious illness. The best thing we can do is be prepared, and therefore we need additional resources to ensure that we have the tools we need to be able to respond. ”

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