COVID-19 Research Continues at TidalHealth

Delajuan Coston, RN, an Emergency Department nurse, was the first person to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional.

COVID-19 is still a threat, but the healthcare experts at TidalHealth are working diligently to bring new therapies — and a vaccine — to Delmarva.

TidalHealth is an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network, a group of academic and community-based clinical researchers designed to provide new opportunities for research collaborations and accelerate the transfer of new diagnostic, treatment and disease prevention advances from the research arena to patient care.

The health system’s dedication to research has paid off recently as it battles the pandemic. Until a vaccine becomes readily available, TidalHealth has been able to offer several antibody therapies to COVID-19 patients that help eliminate the virus from the blood. Most recently, TidalHealth became a regional referral site for the administration of a new type of COVID-19 treatment that drew attention when it was used to treat President Donald Trump.

Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody produced by Eli Lilly & Co., was granted emergency use authorization by the Food & Drug Administration on Nov. 9. Only six hospitals in Maryland are in the first wave of facilities authorized to use the drug, and TidalHealth is the first site on the Eastern Shore. President Trump received a similar type of monoclonal antibody produced by Regeneron to treat his COVID-19.

TidalHealth is also using Sargramostim, a new therapy that works with a patient’s immune system to clear debris in the alveoli — tiny air sacs in the lungs — and rapidly improves breathing.

What we have learned through this pandemic is that we are truly better together.

Karen Fiddler, MBA, RN, Vice President of Population Health.

Dr. Bob Joyner, Director of TidalHealth’s Richard A. Henson Research Institute, said he’s proud of TidalHealth’s efforts to protect the community and its employees while caring for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

“It’s important to know that TidalHealth is unique,” he said. “There isn’t a magic switch — it will take time and diligence to return to life as we knew it — but we take the job of caring for our community very seriously, and we’re doing a great job.”

In the midst of the pandemic, innovation continues at TidalHealth to keep patients safe. At TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, a triage tent was erected outside to safely care for Emergency Department patients and the Layfield Tower was transitioned to negative pressure to provide a safe care area for COVID-19 positive patients.

TidalHealth also applied for and received an emergency Certificate of Need allowing for the construction of a new 44-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), increasing capacity to nearly 100 beds for the sickest patients.

In TidalHealth’s primary and specialty care offices, physicians continue to offer telehealth appointments so patients can seek medical advice and treatment without leaving home.

“What we have learned through this pandemic is that we truly are better together,” said Kathryn Fiddler, DNP, MBA, RN, Vice President of Population Health.