SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ top health official on Monday said the state has received its first shipment of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has proven early success as a treatment for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the federal government shipped 140 cases of Remdesivir vials to Illinois on Saturday. She said each case of the drug, which is injected intravenously, provides treatment to about five patients.
“The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently conducted a clinical trial and found that patients who received Remdesivir had a statistically significant shorter time to recovery, compared to those receiving a post placebo,” Ezike said during state leaders’ daily briefing on COVID-19.
Ezike said IDPH sent cases of Remdesivir to 14 hospitals around the state by considering hospitalization and intensive care data, as well as hospitals that are treating the most critically ill patients and patients of color.
“We do expect to receive more Remdesivir in the future, but our hope is that the allocation that we received on Saturday can already help to improve outcomes for some patients who need it most,” she said.
Monday’s briefing was the first held via video conference after a senior staffer in the office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker tested positive for COVID-19.
“For that reason, in accordance with the best public health practices of protocol and recommendations of doctors, the rest of our team, myself included, is working from home for the time being,” Pritzker said.
The governor added that his office “is very much still in full operation and all aspects of the executive branch will function as they have been.”
IDPH reported 1,266 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as well as 54 addtional deaths. Illinois has now reported a total of 79,007 cases and 3,459 deaths. There were 12,441 tests performed in the past 24 hours, bringing the state’s total to 442,425.
Ezike said that 30 residents and 10 staff members at the state-run veterans home in Manteno are confirmed to have COVID-19 after everyone was tested. Everyone at the LaSalle veterans home was also tested, with one resident testing positive. That resident, Ezike said, has since tested negative.
Tests are ongoing at the veterans homes in Quincy and Anna. Neither location has yet to report a COVID-19 case.
Ezike added that 4,319 people remain in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19. Of those, 1,248 are in intestine care units and 730 are on ventilators.