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Governor Ron DeSantis Says Florida Will Get Remdesivir, Antiviral Used in People Hospitalized with COVID-19

Photo: Dimitri Karastelev

Governor Ron DeSantis says Florida will be getting a shipment of an antiviral drug called remdesivir for COVID-19 patients. 

DeSantis says the drug was donated by the drug’s maker, Gilead. It will be distributed to hospitals in the state. 

“But we feel if we can at least get some and give it out and let them have the option that that's definitely the right thing to do on that.”

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DeSantis said the state did not qualify for the first round of the drug which went to harder hit areas of the country like New York.

The FDA now allows remdesivir to be used in emergencies for people hospitalized with COVID-19. 

Preliminary results of an NIH-funded study found a third of patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 recovered faster on remdesivir, although other studies have found no benefit. 

DeSantis says Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have been the hardest hit by the virus may not only benefit from this treatment, but from hundreds of thousands of shipments of protective gear.

He says the state has sent more than 10 million masks, one million gloves, half a million face shields and 160,000 gowns to long-term care facilities statewide. 

“That’s really important because if that's properly worn as required that could be the difference between preventing one of the elderly residents from getting infected.”

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DeSantis says the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration ordered all staff members at nursing homes to be tested for COVID-19. 

He says a rapid mobile lab will be deployed to help give these workers test results within 45 minutes.

If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.