LOGANSPORT – Cass County has been chosen as one of the few places to use the experimental drug remdesivir to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients.
Logansport Memorial Hospital received a very limited supply of the drug last week, after hearing from the federal government — through FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services — that it was one of the places chosen for emergency use, according to a statement from the hospital.
The federal government selected Cass as one of the recipients because of the high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in a short period.
“Logansport Memorial Hospital has been preparing for the ongoing possibility that a significant percentage of those positive cases may require hospitalization, as the virus runs its course,” the statement read.
It appears to be the only hospital in Indiana that has received the drug.
After being notified of receiving the drug, the hospital formed a multi-specialty team of physicians to develop evidence-based criteria for administering the drug. The team agreed that the drug would also follow any Logansport Memorial patients that were transferred to larger hospitals for a higher level of critical care, so those patients would receive enough for treatment, hospital officials reported.
Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug originally developed to fight Ebola and Marburg viruses and wasn’t effective, but it has shown promise for other coronaviruses viruses, such as SARS and MERS. On May 1, the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency approval for remdesivir to be used by patients with severe cases of COVID-19.
Preliminary testing has shown severely ill patients that meet criteria similar to what the Logansport Memorial team designated have recovered more quickly from COVID-19.
“If patients are able to recover and leave the hospital faster, it gives Logansport Memorial Hospital the opportunity to take care of more patients who need specialized care that only a hospital can provide,” according to the press release. “With such a limited supply of this experimental drug comes a tremendous responsibility to use it wisely and appropriately, so that we can make the most of its impact on the severely ill patients in our care.”
Pioneer reschedules school milestones
Pioneer Regional School Corporation has announced the new dates for its 2020 prom, senior awards and graduation ceremony, and they’ll take place all in one weekend.
Prom is scheduled for July 24, senior awards are scheduled for July 25 and graduation is scheduled for July 26. Things are still being planned, considered and given plans B and C, said Pioneer Superintendent Charles Grabel.
“We just wanted to get the dates out for family,” he said. “Everything still depends on social interaction measures. At that time, we should be at Stage 5 for social interactions.”
Graduation would be at gym or football field, but that’s still being considered. Grabel hopes it will be a traditional ceremony.
“We’re not sure what graduation is going to like,” he said. “We’re guessing we’re going to have to limit the guests.”
He noted that some schools are having “drive-up” graduations.
Prom is the event that would most likely not happen. Grabel said he’s not sure how prom would work with social isolation. But if it happens, would likely happen at the high school gym, he added.
License branches opening
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now scheduling appointments for business at 73 more branches starting May 11.
This means 128 will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Business includes amending, getting or replacing a driver license, learner’s permit or identification card; getting a commercial driver license or disability placard; testing for knowledge; getting new registration; and transferring or updating an existing title.
The license branches are not making appointments for reinstatement transactions or road testing.
People can make an appointment at https://www.in.gov/bmv/4363.htm.
According to the latest update from the Indiana State Health Department (ISHD), 1,497 residents of Cass County have tested positive for COVID-19.
The most recent ISHD report shows 234 cases in Howard County, 122 in Miami, 139 in White, 70 in Carroll, 34 in Fulton and 33 in Pulaski.
An additional 643 cases have been confirmed statewide by the ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Cass County Health Department, Memorial Hospital and private laboratories. That brings the statewide total to 23,146 with 1,328 deaths, for a death rate of 5.7%.
A total of 130,128 tests have been reported to ISDH to date, up from 124,782 reported on Thursday with 17.8% of those returning positive results.
According to the latest update from the CDC, 1,219,066 cases are now confirmed nationwide. There have been 73,297 deaths reported nationwide for a death rate of 6.0%.
As of Friday morning’s report, the World Health Organization says 3,759,967 people have been infected worldwide with 259,474 deaths reported, for a global death rate of 6.9%.