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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jul. 20, 2020 3 weeks ago

DeSantis promotes donations of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as protestors disrupt press conference

OneBlood's CEO said they have seen a 500% increase in demand for plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Protestors yelled and banged on the windows outside the OneBlood headquarters in Orlando for over 10 minutes during a COVID-19 press conference by the governor on Monday, July 20, all the while Gov. Ron DeSantis ignored the commotion and continued to ask Floridians with COVID-19 antibodies donate plasma to help treat current patients. 

The group of protestors were escorted outside by law enforcement shortly after beginning to interrupt the governor's statements by shouting phrases such as "shame on you." DeSantis acknowledged the protestors briefly before carrying on with his statements.

“And we will not be defunding the police, so don’t worry about that," DeSantis said. "We’re going to be supporting our men and women in law enforcement.”

More than 10,000 new coronavirus cases were reported on Monday, July 20, a trend since July 14. The state currently has an overall positivity rate of 11.79%. Volusia County is reporting 5,297 total cases of COVID-19, and Flagler's count is at 659. Volusia's positivity rate has been trending down since July 16, going from 17.1% on July 15 to 8.9% on Sunday, July 9. Flagler's positivity rate has been wavering up and down between 3.6% and 8.9% for the two weeks, with July 19 reporting a 4.3% positivity rate.

DeSantis said the state has been seeing an increase of positive antibody test results, and that the demand for convalescent plasma has increased in hospitals. 

“The success has been promising," DeSantis said. "I think if you look at a hospitalized patient now given treatment early, they’re doing better than patients were doing in March and April when the pandemic really first hit.”

George Scholl, president and chief executive officer of OneBlood, said the blood donation center is collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma — meant to boost the immune systems of coronavirus patients through introduction of antibodies — 24/7 as they experience a 500% increase in demand. 

“It’s all hands on deck at OneBlood," Scholl said. "As quickly as donations come in, we process, we test and we distribute them and get them out the door because the demand is currently unprecedented.”


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