By Meredith Barack

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use of an antibody cocktail treatment made by Regeneron. The FDA is saying it is OK to give it to some high risk patients with coronavirus symptoms. It’s the same treatment President Donald Trump took when he had the virus.

Regeneron says it will have doses for 80,000 patients this month and 500,000 by the end of January.

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Drugs like this cannot come fast enough for hospitals, which have seen a steady rise of COVID-19 patients. Dr. Ernest Wang, chief of emergency medicine at North Shore University Health System, oversees five hospitals, including in Evanston and Highland Park. He says things are going to get worse before they get better and hospitals are already in crisis mode.

Wang says the numbers now are much higher than the numbers in the spring. Cases are continuing to grow, and he anticipates that trend will continue. He is concern about what this could mean not only for his hospital but also for the health care system as a whole.

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“I’m very worried,” he said. “The whole health system is worried. Patients are coming in more frequent and sicker, and it’s not slowing down. We just have to try and manage the patients. We have not enough staff sometimes to staff the beds we have,” Wang said.

Illinois is currently reporting more than 6,100 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and nearly 600 on ventilators. That number is up significantly from just two weeks ago.

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Meredith Barack