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Ascension Sacred Heart participates in COVID-19 clinical trial

Anti-Virus Troops

Pensacola-based Ascension Sacred Heart is participating in a national clinical trial that involves extracting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and using it to boost the immune systems of patients still fighting the virus.

The procedure is called COVID-19 convalescent plasma and was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in certain hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Both Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola and Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast in Walton County are offering the treatment as part of the national research study.

Local health care officials are hopeful convalescent plasma could give their sickest patients a fighting chance.

“I’m really excited about the potential of plasma therapy to save lives,” says Dr. Peter Jennings, chief medical officer of Ascension Sacred Heart. “This approach essentially uses other people’s ‘troops’ to fight the virus.”

Ascension Sacred Heart is working with OneBlood to identify recovered patients and increase the number of plasma donors.

OneBlood is a non-profit that provides blood to more than 200 hospitals across Florida and parts of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

EDUCATION

  • The Home Builders Association of West Florida has sued Santa Rosa County in an effort to block proposed impact fees on new-home construction. The proposed fees are earmarked for the local school district to address rapid growth in the number of new students. The proposed countywide impact fees are $5,000 for single-family homes; $4,000 for mobile homes; and $2,750 for multi-family homes.

ENERGY

  • NextEra Energy plans to merge the operations of Gulf Power and Florida Power & Light by 2022. NextEra bought Gulf Power from Southern Co. for $6.4 billion in 2019.

CONSTRUCTION

  • The $150-million Cascades project in downtown Tallahassee has topped out, says North American Properties’ Shawn R. McIntyre. The new construction includes a hotel by Marriott, an office building and apartments. The project is expected to be completed late this year.

COVID-19 UPDATE

  • Tallahassee’s electric customers received a discount on their April utility bills as part of local coronavirus relief efforts. City commissioners unanimously approved the one-time rate reduction of 27%. The city estimates the $6.3-million reduction saved typical single-family households about $30. City officials say the rate cut was made possible through projected savings in the cost of natural gas used to generate electricity at the city-owned utility.
  • The city of Pensacola is providing hand-washing stations at 11 locations for the homeless population.
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by Congress provides $1,325,041 in Community Development Block Grant funding for the Pensacola area — Escambia County will receive $872,881, and Pensacola, $452,160.
  • St. Joe Co. Foundation has donated $200,000 to the Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation to buy personal protection equipment for its medical staff. St. Joe also has donated $62,340 to the non-profit PanCare of Florida for COVID-19 testing supplies. “We’re in regular communication with community leaders, in this case medical professionals, to learn about the issues, the needs and how money from the foundation can be best put to use,” says St. Joe Co. CEO Jorge Gonzalez.

 

Read more in Florida Trend's July issue.
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