Edmondson: Public/private partnerships fight COVID-19

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Dianne Edmondson, Precinct 4 County Commissioner

It warms my heart each time I hear about a mattress firm making face masks, or car manufacturers retooled to produce ventilators, or enterprising college students designing/making face shields, or the hundreds of women who are stitching face masks for medical workers and first responders, and many others.

These unique and productive private-public partnerships give our country its best chance to beat this pandemic — together. Government alone cannot do it. The CDC is the first line of defense against such an enemy, but they are no longer the only ones working on a vaccine: At last count, there were at least a dozen private laboratories whose researchers are feverishly seeking the inoculation to prevent future COVID-19 infections.

Increased testing has been called for, and once again, our private sector jumped into action, answering that call. Abbott Labs has developed (and the FDA has approved) a 15-minute test for COVID-19 virus which is currently in production and quickly will be rolled out across the country. Other labs are also developing the quicker tests.

Treatment for COVID-19

A century-old treatment effectively used in the 1918 flu pandemic is being brought back against COVID 19. The Food and Drug Administration has announced that the Mayo Clinic will lead an initiative to treat COVID patients with plasma from someone who recovered from it, utilizing the antibodies produced by the recovered patient to neutralize the virus or cause an immune response in the sick patient. The Mayo Clinic coalition, including the American Red Cross, now has more than 100 sites working on implementing convalescent plasma as a COVID 19 treatment.

This could be a game changer in treatment for the virus, as thousands of people nationally, including about 325 right here in Denton County, have recovered from COVID-19 and could volunteer to donate their blood/plasma. The Denton County Health Department will contact those in our county with instructions for voluntary participation in this effort.

The Mayo Clinic also is focusing on determining how long that immunity lasts, thus targeting populations who can safely go back to work. ARCpoint Labs in Ft. Worth offers a similar test.

The National Institutes of Health announced a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine as a potential therapy for COVID-19 to evaluate its safety and effectiveness for the treatment in adult patients who have been hospitalized. The first participants have now enrolled in this clinical trial in Tennessee.

Some 140 other treatment drugs are being tested around the globe, including ones from America’s Pfizer and Gilead companies.

Here in Denton County, our testing numbers are up (third highest per capita testing in Texas), resulting in more COVID-19 cases being discovered. Most cases do not require hospitalization, but are quarantined at home. As of May 2 (latest data available prior to this article’s publication) there were 13 new cases, bringing the county’s cumulative cases to 799, with 54 of those being at the Denton State Supported Living Center, and fewer than half listed as active cases. Sadly, 22 have died here in Denton County, mostly people with underlying medical issues.

Your County Commissioners are following Governor Abbott’s lead in dealing with this crisis, and anticipate soon allowing our economy and our lives to return to normal. Please follow current data and all that our County is doing on our special website: covid19.dentoncounty.gov

Yes, these are tumultuous times but with these joint efforts, coupled with fervent prayer, America will defeat COVID-19. Thank you for what you individually are doing to defeat our invisible enemy.

If you would like to receive an e- newsletter, please contact Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson at [email protected] and ask to be placed on the email list. You may phone her at (972) 434-3960. Her office is located in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 900, in Flower Mound.

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