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COVID infusion therapy for Highland Lakes in Austin

As part of the state’s effort to address COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott and state officials established infusion therapy centers around the state, including the Austin Regional Infusion Center. The center serves the Highland Lakes region. Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor

While waiting on the COVID-19 vaccination, Horseshoe Bay officials are reminding people that testing for and treatment of the disease are still good tools available for curbing its spread. 

Along with continued rapid testing at the Horseshoe Bay Central Fire Station, infusion treatments are available for area residents through the Capital Area of Texas Regional Advisory Council in Austin, announced Horseshoe Bay Fire Chief Brent Batla. 

“If you meet the criteria and you have mild to moderate symptoms, they’ll infuse the antibodies into you,” Batla said. “If you’re elderly and come down with COVID, you don’t have to let your body fight it.”

The Texas Division of Emergency Management and several partnering agencies opened the Austin Regional Infusion Center on Jan. 6. The center distributes Regeneron, an antibody therapy, to patients who meet certain criteria. A physician or hospital must refer an individual for the treatment.  

The infusion center expanded from nine chairs to 32 chairs on Jan. 25. It had treated 279 patients since opening prior to the expansion. 

“It’s definitely an option,” Balta said of the treatment. “It looks like a really good option.”

Individuals can learn more about the infusion center online. Scheduling will be handled by each patient’s referring physician or medical center.

As for the free rapid testing, the chief said that will continue daily from 9-11 a.m. at the fire station, 1 Community Drive in Horseshoe Bay, until further notice.

People still need to sign up in advance for an appointment by emailing covid@hillcountrydirector.com or calling 325-216-9641. 

Batla said that testing can be extended on a Friday if the morning overflows.

“By demand, they’ll open it up in the afternoon for slots,” he said. 

If a 15-minute test comes back positive, contact tracing begins immediately. 

Batla said 30-35 tests are administered each Friday since Llano County began offering the service in early December. 

“I feel like it’s been highly successful,” the chief said. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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