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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

DeSantis Pushing Hydroxychloroquine As COVID-19 Treatment

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at C.B. Smith Park, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The park will be used for a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at C.B. Smith Park, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The park will be used for a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at C.B. Smith Park, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The park will be used for a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility.
Credit Brynn Anderson / AP Photo
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at C.B. Smith Park, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The park will be used for a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to stock hospitals with Hydroxychloroquine. DeSantis has been  working with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to get shipments of the drug.

Dr. Sunil Kumar specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine. He works at Broward Health Medical Center. Kumar says his center was initially using Hydroxychloroquine with a Z-Pak, an antibiotic. As of yesterday, he says his center has started using Hydroxychloroquine with different medications. But he says it's just one of several experimental options for treating coronavirus patients.

"I have to be very careful. I don't want people to assume that's the only thing that's available," Kumar says.

Hydroxychloroquine has been on the market for a while and is typically used to treat malaria and lupus. It is still undergoing tests to see if it's an effective treatment for COVID-19. Kumar says his center is trying different methods to help patients with the virus.

"What we do is about six hours [patients] lay on their back, and for the rest of the day, they lay on their stomach. So we turn them, and with their face down, they are lying on their stomach," Kumar says.

Kumar comments that this method seems to be working. He notes all options need to be open and available.

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Carlos Campo says Hydroxychloroquine is not without side effects and combining it with other medications can be fatal:

"I would not recommend just starting these as an outpatient because... patients cannot be monitored, and again the medications themselves can put the patient at risk."

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