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Photo Shows Jax Regeneron Clinic Overburdened With Distressed COVID Patients

This photo shows two people lying on the floor at the Jacksonville Main Library waiting for Regeron treatments.
This photo shows two people lying on the floor at the Jacksonville Main Library waiting for Regeron treatments.

The photographer said nurses were friendly and were doing their best, and the patients were all friendly despite the two-hour waits. Some patients shared the limited chairs that were available.

A photo circulating on social media shows COVID-19 patients lying on the floor of the antibody treatment clinic at the Jacksonville Public Library.

The photo shows a woman lying face down on the library floor. She appears to be in distress. In the background, another person is also flat on the floor, being tended to by a loved one. 

The photo was posted on Reddit around midday on Wednesday by user Suzieb2220, who wrote, “My husband (vaccinated, but positive) has been waiting 2+ hours for monoclonal therapy and he says he has never seen people so sick. Moaning, crying, unable to move.”

Reached Thursday afternoon, Louie Lopez, who took the photo, said the imagine was more dramatic in person.

"The picture doesn't convey the sounds that I was hearing. People were in pain," Lopez said.

Lopez said the nurses were friendly and were doing their best, and the patients were all friendly, despite the two-hour waits they were dealing with. Some patients shared the limited chairs that were available.

Lopez said that he's beginning to feel better since the treatment and hasn't had a migraine for the first time in eight days.

"It seems really odd that would have a bunch of really sick people in a library waiting for an injection when then need medical treatment," said Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation. "This is approved for people who have mild to moderate symptoms. If they have symptoms where their oxygen is low or their blood pressure is low, they need to be seen in the hospital."

City spokesperson Nikki Kimbleton confirmed the photo is of the Jacksonville clinic and told WJCT that wheelchairs are offered at the site, but at the time the photo was taken they were all filled by other patients. 

Kimbleton said that the city has provided triple the number of wheelchairs, additional seating for those waiting in line and signage that directs patients to alert if they need assistance.

“This treatment is meant to keep people out of the hospital and is designed for those early on in their COVID-19 diagnosis or for those who believe they have been exposed to COVID,” Kimbleton said. “Individuals with severe symptoms should contact a medical professional for guidance on the proper treatment for their situation.”

Regeneron, a monoclonal antibody treatment, can help reduce the symptoms of COVID-19 if it’s administered shortly after exposure to the virus, but it’s less helpful once symptoms progress. It can also limit the body’s ability to fight future COVID infection and make vaccines less effective, according to its manufacturer

Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Jacksonville Aug. 12 to promote the clinic, saying the Regeneron “strike teams” deployed across the state were “the best thing we can do” to reduce hospitalizations. “So I want everybody to know that this is an important way to be able to protect yourself in the event that you are infected,” he said.

Since then, clinics have opened in several locations across the state.

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

Copyright 2021 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.