A group of COVID-19 positive residents at a Texas City nursing home are being treated with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.

The drug has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks because of its debated effectiveness in combating COVID-19.

Twenty-seven of the residents infected with COVID-19 at The Resort at Texas City nursing home, 1720 N. Logan St., are being treated with hydroxychloroquine, said Dr. Robin Armstrong, the medical director at the Resort at Texas City.

The Galveston County Health District confirmed last week that 83 people at the residence, including residents and employees, had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

One of those residents had died as of Monday, officials said.

Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug, often prescribed for the autoimmune disease lupus, that has shown in limited research some potential to speed recovery in coronavirus patients.

Abbott announced the nursing home’s use of the drug during a televised update about the state’s reaction to the coronavirus on Monday afternoon. The drug was being used to “determine whether or not it will be a successful treatment for those patients,” Abbott said.

The nursing home began using the treatment Saturday, Armstrong said.

Families of residents were not notified before the drugs were administered, but nursing home operators were in the process of notifying them Monday, Armstrong said.

The goal is to keep sicker, elderly patients out of the hospital, Armstrong said.

“I’m a hospitalist and have used it on hospitalized patients before,” he said. “For younger patients, it can have a benefit of helping them as they’re getting sicker.”

Elderly patients, once they are hospitalized, generally don’t recover and tend to do better staying in a familiar setting to be treated, Armstrong said.

Patients’ respiratory rates, temperatures and oxygen saturation levels are being measured regularly, he said. The drug will be administered over a course of five days, and by early next week he should be able to determine whether they are responding, he said.

Asked whether he was required to get permission from the Texas Department of State Health Services to administer hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients, Armstrong said no.

“We just, as a group of health experts, we made the decision it would be safe and for their benefit,” he said. “These are not meds that are odd or unusual.”

“We’re just trying to treat them a little bit early,” he said. “We made the decision that if we can improve their survival, we’ll give it a try.”

The Galveston County Health District was not involved in the decision to use the drug in Texas City, a spokeswoman said.

The drug has been a source of controversy in recent weeks. President Donald Trump has promoted its use, while Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s senior medical advisor, has argued that treatment using the drug has not been proven effective and that more rigorous study of the drug is still needed.

Still, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the drug for “emergency use” among some COVID-19 patients “for whom a clinical trial is not feasible.”

— Material from The Texas Tribune was used in this report.

Kathryn Eastburn: 409-683-5257; kathryn.eastburn@galvnews.com.


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(44) comments

Ray Taft

Hydroxychloroquine is working very well for many COVAD-19 patients. And doctors who use it on their patients have said so. Patients who recovered after being on Hydroxychloroquine say it was the drug that helped them recover. Hydroxychloroquine has been in use for decades to treat other illnesses. Many doctors use many drugs off label.

Hydroxychloroquine is a subject of a fake controversy because Democrats and their minions in the fake news media want to make it a controversy.

Their political goal is to try to get President Trump no matter how many Americans have to die to do so. They are so consumed by hate; they have lost their humanity and common sense.

Terri Abraham

I think as long as it's used under a doctor's care, it's worth a try. It does have side effects, including low blood pressure and arrhythmias, so needs monitoring. Especially in people who are on other meds for their hearts or blood pressure, like a lot of older people are.

A lot of the controversy comes because there are people who will buy it (or a fake) off the internet and take it on their own.

To prove the drug works for corona virus, there need to be controlled tests done.

Gary Miller

Thousands of Dr's have reported one side effect from Covid-19. Survival is the side effect Democrats oppose.

Gary Miller

Ray. Clear thinking is your best virtue.

Thomas Sanchez

The Democrats are using the same playbook that Republicans used on Barack Obama and Bill Clinton for eight years each. Do you have a problem with Democrats using a Republican playbook.

Carlos Ponce

Not Really Thomas Sanchez. Democrats WROTE their playbook loooooong before Bill Clinton and Barack Obama came on the scene. Sounds like you need a history lesson.

L'ee Graham

The couple of anecdotal (Dr Fauci's description) stories of this drug helping patients were mainly on people mild cases or even asymptotic cases. There is questionable evidence that this treatment is helpful for severely ill COVID-19 patients. A study just released this week from France on severely ill patients showed that it did not help clear the virus or lessen the symptoms. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0399077X20300858

Using this on critically ill elderly patients to me seems like a whole lot of snake oil. I hope at least the patient's families were able to provide consent.

Carlos Ponce

"[Michigan Democratic State Representative Karen] Whitsett did not receive hydroxychloroquine until the day of her coronavirus test. She was able to have her husband pick up the medication after her symptoms reached a critical phase."

See "Dem Lawmaker Says Trump Saved Her Life by Recommending Hydroxychloroquine for Coronavirus"



“It went from the headaches being severe to fluid building up in my lungs, to sweats breaking out to the cough and my breathing being labored,” Whitsett said. “It all happened in a matter of hours.”

Anecdotal? Yes. But the Democrat says it works.

Gary Miller

L'Quest> snake oil is the democrat favorite phrase. If it will save lives Democrats will oppose it.

Kenneth Diestler

"There is questionable evidence that this treatment is helpful"

So, in this time of need and no real alternatives for treatment do you recommend doing nothing until "proper" studies can be done by the FDA? If this is the best we have at this time--USE IT!

Jim Forsythe

Thalidomide was ok until it was not. That disaster should be enough to make sure a drug is safe for a use that it has not been approved for.

Clinical trials are to keep us from repeating what has happened in the past, unforeseen side effects. "the drug — hydroxychloroquine — has not been clinically tested or approved to treat coronavirus." Until it is proven safe for use for coronavirus, anyone prescribing it for coronavirus is taking a chance with the liability laws, unless part of a trial. You can buy it on the internet, which is very dangerous.

Hydroxychloroquine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old. Avoid taking an antacid or Kaopectate (kaolin-pectin) within 4 hours before or after you take hydroxychloroquine.

A total of 332 drugs are known to interact with hydroxychloroquine.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, every drug sold by prescription has side effects. Question: How many anecdotal reports until skeptics realize this drug helps? Answer: None-unless it is done with clinical analysis which takes years, some will never accept Hydroxychloroquine for use in cases involving coronavirus.

Think about the pot heads in the audience. They have been ingesting the weed by smoking or eating without the benefit of clinical studies. At least Hydroxychloroquine is being taken under a doctor's supervision.

Jim Forsythe

A number of clinical trials( over 435 clinical trials of cannabis so far) of medical cannabis starting each year have been fairly constant for the last 15 years. However, the characteristics of these trials have substantially changed. Trials started in the 2001-2005 period were focused almost exclusively on two disease areas – neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis. Many were large Phase 3 trials funded by industry.

Clinical trials of medical cannabis have shifted towards assessing efficacy in a much wider number of therapeutic areas and diseases. There has been an increase in smaller Phase 1 pilot studies.

Carlos Ponce

"last 15 years" - That takes us back to 2005 and since you are a child of the 60s you know people were taking it long before that and proponents were making all sorts of claims. With clinical studies however we have learned it was the CBD that provided those effects not the hallucinogen THC.

Jim Forsythe

I have a family member that takes Hydroxychloroquine. She has strict guidelines she must follow or bad things will happen to her. She now faces a real possibility of not getting it when she needs it. "Heightened demand for the drug has left longtime patients – including lupus patients who have long used it as an anti-inflammatory – forced to go without. Overdoses have also been reported in the US and Nigeria as frightened individuals attempt to self-medicate."

A group of scientists in Marseille, France, launched an experiment to see whether hydroxychloroquine, a well-known old malaria drug, could be what everyone was searching for: a cure. The French hydroxychloroquine study did not follow any of the rules required in a study.

Most small scientific studies live and die within the rarified domain of academic journals, but the French trial had a much more auspicious debut. Before the study was even published, in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA), a lawyer falsely claiming an affiliation with Stanford University appeared on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to declare the results: a “100% cure rate against coronavirus”. From Fox News, it was only a matter of time (hours, in fact) before the drug was being hailed as a “game-changer” by the president of the United States.

It's a matter of whom you want to follow, the President or Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, who has repeatedly warned that there is no conclusive evidence to support using the drug. Asked whether it should be considered a treatment for Covid-19, he said on 24 March: “The answer is no.”

Carlos Ponce

The drug can be produced easily. Problem is there's no $$$$$ in it.

Jim Forsythe

Clinical testing has nothing to do with the cost of hydroxychloroquine. If you truly believe money is the only reason for doing the trials, we need to do away with the program for all drugs.

A person in a trial is the way it should be done. To skip this step, we are setting ourselves up for a medical disaster.

Clinical trials to test hydroxychloroquine, for use on coronavirus patients, could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete.

Taking hydroxychloroquine without knowing if it will cause bad side-effects when used for COVID-19, could last a lifetime.

I will follow Dr Anthony Fauci guidance, when dealing with COVID-19.

Carlos Ponce

Clinical tests require you give a control group given a PLACEBO. That is not good as they lay there suffering, dying and then die.

On April 21, 1990, ACT UP demanded Dr Fauci's resignation. " more than 1,000 demonstrators marched through the sprawling grounds of the NIH “using placards, costumes, bull horns and red-colored tape to draw attention to their demand for faster government action on AIDS research programs.”

Why? Dr Fauci wanted Clinical testing on AIDS treatment drugs while their friends died : “Scores of drugs and alternative treatments languish untested while more than 200 new cases of AIDS are diagnosed each day,” stated ACT UP in papers distributed at the demonstration.


Dr. Fauci is good at what he does but hundreds of physicians see hydrchloroquinine as a treatment far better than DEATH.

Gary Scoggin

There are processes to by-pass the arduous trial process when a drug has been deemed safe, as hydroxychloroquine has. The question is only the efficacy of off-label use. I personally see no problem with trying it on patients, under strict medical supervision, under set protocols and with full reporting of outcomes to CDC.

Carlos Ponce

"Clinical testing has nothing to do with the cost of hydroxychloroquine." I never posted it did. But there is no money to be made on a drug that's been around since the 1950s, 1930s if you are talking about chloroquinine. However, if a NEW drug comes along, there is money to be made. Some idiot on some idiotic Liberal news program stated that Trump is promoting the drug for monetary gain. THAT IS SOOOO STUPID! There's NO money in it!

Gary Miller

Jim> Fauci is a government bureaucrat AKA Democrat Bureaucrat. Democrat bureaucrats all hope Covid-19 gets bad enough they can use it against Trump.

Gary Scoggin

Gary Miller: "Fauci is a government bureaucrat AKA Democrat Bureaucrat." You mean the Anthony Fauci that worked for Presidents Reagan, Bush (41), Bush (43) and Trump? The Anthony Fauci that has worked on infectuous diseases for over 50 years?

You logic that he is (a government employee) therefore (a democrat) therefore (wants people to die) therefore (the President looks bad) is just so silly that I don't really think you believe it. Are you trolling us?

Carlos Ponce

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been with NIH since 1968 when Lyndon Johnson was president. The Left despised him in 1990 when he wanted clinical studies on possible AIDS treatment drugs instead of using them as treatment.

Gary Miller

Jim. Dr Fauci is a bureaucrat. As such he is in favor of multi Billion $ and long range studies by bureaucrats interested in the money.

Jim Forsythe

Clinical trials determine how much medication is needed, frequency and such. Trials require many different people with different medical problems to be part of them. The size of these trials will be in the thousands of people to cover all possible problems with these drugs.

Chloroquine (Aralen) and its sister drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) are under investigation for the treatment of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease. The side effects of these drugs are many. Chloroquine has the most server-side effects. Using these drugs for COVID-19, the side effects are not known.

Some of the problems that must be looked at with Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine include the following.

One of the side effects little is known about is pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are no studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of chloroquine in during pregnancy. If you are pregnant this drug should be avoided unless it is necessary and the benefit outweighs the risk. Chloroquine is excreted in breast milk. Hydroxychloroquine may be secreted in breast milk also and may cause side effects in the infant.

Carlos Ponce

"Clinical trials determine how much medication is needed, frequency and such." There is also a CONTROL group given placebos. Doctors are already sharing how much medication and at what strength it is administered. Looks promising.

Gary Miller

Jim> A large number of Dr's say Survival is the side effect they see.

Bailey Jones

As long as there is informed consent, I see nothing wrong with this, or any other experimental drug use. But I do question "informed consent" in this particular population when the families weren't involved in the decision.

Gary Scoggin

The shame is that a possible effective drug therapy got politicized. Two things should have never happened:

A. The President playing doctor in chief and spouting off about something best left to clinicians and researchers.

B. The pro and anti Trump press both taking uninformed positions on this.

Carlos Ponce

"The President playing doctor in chief and spouting off about something best left to clinicians and researchers." Michigan Democratic State Representative Karen Whitsett says she did not know hydrochloroquine was a possible treatment for coronavirus until President Trump mentioned it. She then learned her state of Michigan had discouraged its use for the disease. After much red tape her doctor was able to prescribe it despite her taking the drug previously for another disease. She says it made a difference. Thousands of similar cases like this in this country.

Gary Scoggin

How nice. Sounds like she needs a better doctor.

Carlos Ponce

In Michigan all doctors are bound by the same rules. If her doctor was able to obtain consent for hydrochloroquine despite state government regulations I'd say she has a GOOD doctor.

Bailey Jones

Personally, I'm taking Doctor Trump's Miraculous April Heat Cure. The label says your viral load "within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done."

Carlos Ponce

You are taking statements out of context, Bailey:

What did the President actually say? He was talking about the ORIGINAL 15.

"As of today [ February 27, 2020], we have 15 cases of COVID-19 that have been detected in the United States, with only one new case detected in the last two weeks. We also have three cases among Americans repatriated from Wuhan and 42 cases among Americans repatriated who had been stuck on the Diamond Princess in Japan.

Of the 15 people — the “original 15,” as I call them — 8 of them have returned to their homes, to stay in their homes until fully recovered. One is in the hospital and five have fully recovered. And one is, we think, in pretty good shape and it’s in between hospital and going home. So we have a total of — but we have a total of 15 people, and they’re in a process of recovering, with some already having fully recovered.

And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.


And out of ALL THAT, Bailey only sees "within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done."

Are you TRYING to mislead or do you need a pair of glasses that work? SHEESH!

Bailey Jones

I'm just worried about you Carlos - being locked down and all. I thought some spinning exercise would be good for you.

You're welcome.

Carlos Ponce

I live in a "no spin zone". With 5 acres of land I get plenty of exercise and logged 11,467 steps on my Fitbit.

Carlos Ponce

The end of the COVID-19 infection will be at the end of the Passover.

The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, falls on the Hebrew calendar dates of Nissan 15-22. Pesach 2020 (Passover) falls out at sundown on Wednesday, April 8, and ends at nightfall on Thursday, April 16.

Gary Scoggin

That’s great news, Carlos. Did that come from Dr. Fauci or Dr. Trump?

Gary Miller

Gary S. Her doctor cured her. What better is there?

Gary Miller

Gary S. Her DR was looking for side effects. Some are good, others bad. Survival was the good side effect he most wanted.

Carlos Ponce

I received the following from UTMB concerning my brother in a Texas City Nursing home:

SARS-CoV-2 Not Detected

Abbott RealTime SARS-CoV-2 kit is used for this assay. It is a real-time (rt) reverse transcriptase (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from the SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) swabs. It is used under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by FDA. The limit of detection (LOD) of the assay is 100 virus copies/mL. False positive results may occur. A negative result does not rule out the presence of PCR inhibitors in the patient specimen or SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA concentrations below the limit of detection by the assay. Test results should not be used as the sole basis for patient management decisions.

Ordered by Robin Lynn Armstrong, MD

Collected on 04/09/2020 9:45 AM from NASOPHARYNGEAL SWAB (Swab)

Resulted on 04/10/2020 3:18 PM

Result Status: Final result


Carlos Ponce

Make that


Terri Abraham

Great news Carlos. Was he one of the people who lived at The Resort?

Carlos Ponce

No, he was previously at The Resort but currently in another care facility in Texas City. But many care providers are employed in more than one facility so there was a chance of testing positive.

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