Sarasota Memorial Hospital is out of COVID-19 drug remdesivir, plasma from recovered patients

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is out of two treatments touted as being most effective in the fight against COVID-19.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s President and CEO David Verinder said SMH is out of the experimental drug Remdesivir. The hospital is also out of antibody-rich plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.

Verinder said staff continues to see an increase in COVID-19-positive patients.

As of Wednesday evening, the hospital was taking care of 118 COVID-19 patients, 26 of whom were in the intensive care unit. Verinder said the hospital’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) was “secure” and staff has enough of what they need to operate, however, they are monitoring supply levels on an “hour-to-hour” basis.

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What the hospital needs right now is the drug remdesivir, which is one of the main treatments in the fight against the virus.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday he had received reports from several Florida hospitals in the previous 24 hours about a potential shortage of remdesivir.

“I am in contact with federal officials in hopes of addressing this matter immediately,” Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters at a news conference in Miami Monday that a supply of remdesivir had been sent to several hospitals across the state. DeSantis did not specify where the supply came from, though New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he was sending enough remdesivir to Florida to treat 280 coronavirus-infected patients to bridge the gap until a federal shipment arrived.

DeSantis also said Monday that a delivery of remdesivir had been “dropped” to Florida hospitals over the weekend.

“That was a request because even though they were due a shipment at the end of this week or next week, they wanted to have enough because they were using it. The physicians like it, and with the uptick of people in the hospitals, (it) was needed,” DeSantis said Monday. “We are obviously going to work to make sure that supply is replenished as much as we can going forward.”

This is not the first time the state has run out of the experimental drug. The Florida Department of Health notified hospitals July 1 that the remdesivir supply was exhausted and temporarily shut down the portal hospitals used to request the drug. But new supplies were made available to hospitals the following day.

Another seemingly-effective treatment for COVID-19 is convalescent plasma, but Sarasota Memorial says it is out of that, too. The plasma has to be donated by recovered COVID-19 patients and can then be used to help new patients fight off the disease.

Verinder urged anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to inquire about donating plasma.

The hospital is able to keep up with the current flow of patients and is able to expand bed space, Verinder said, adding the hospital is working to identify healthcare workers from other areas who may be contracted to come help, should there be a surge in patients.

“We’re making sure that we are open and available for this community, that we can take care of you if you’re sick and we’re here to do that,” he said.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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