Photo Shows COVID Patient Lying on the Ground in Florida Library Waiting for Treatment

A photo that went viral on Reddit shows a COVID-19 patient in a yellow dress lying on the floor in Jacksonville, Florida waiting for monoclonal therapy that was being offered at the Jacksonville Main Library Conference Center. COVID patients reportedly lined up starting Tuesday to receive the treatment at the center.

The COVID patient was identified as Toma Dean, according to News4Jax.

Dean told the outlet on Thursday night that she has been suffering from COVID and pneumonia for two weeks and could barely stand.

"I was bad. Very bad shape. Lightheaded. Dizzy. Shortness of breath," she said. "I couldn't stand at all." She added that she first sat and then laid on the floor when no wheelchairs were available.

The Reddit user who posted the photo on Wednesday warned people to be careful regardless of their vaccination status and said "My husband (vaccinated, but positive) has been waiting 2+ hours for monoclonal therapy and he says he has never seen people so sick. Moaning, crying, unable to move."

"I was so sick it didn't even matter," Dean told News4Jax. "I just thought I could roll. I just wanted to get to therapy because I thought I'm either going to die - be hospitalized, die, or I'm going to make it through those doors."

As of Friday, the post was at a 97% upvote rate—the way Reddit allows users to increase a post's visibility.

"The volume of patients seeking this treatment more than doubled yesterday [at this state-run facility]," Nikki Kimbleton, director of communications for the city of Jacksonville, told Newsweek in an emailed statement on Friday.

Kimbleton didn't confirm if all available wheelchairs were taken when this picture was snapped, but Dean said that there was a shortage and that staff rushed to get wheelchairs to the location.

The city has added wheelchairs, additional seating for those waiting in line, and ways for patients to call for assistance when needed, according to Kimbleton.

"We are encouraged by the increase in activity at this location because the data shows monoclonal antibody treatment is key to alleviating stress on our area hospitals," said Kimbleton.

A Florida Department of Health spokespersontold First Coast News that this incident doesn't typically take place at any of Florida's antibody treatment centers.

She said that when someone reaches that level of illness like the patient in the photo, they are relocated to a better location and in some cases transported to a hospital if necessary. The call to transfer someone to a hospital depends on the severity of their illness which is determined by healthcare workers on site, according to the spokesperson, First Coast News reported.

The Department of Health spokesperson added that it is recommended that patients receive the treatment three to five days after testing positive for the virus. Patients can still receive this treatment at a point later than that, if they are within the window where it's suitable to get it.

Monoclonal antibodies work by directly administering antibodies—molecules produced by the body's immune system that target viruses and stop them from causing illness.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said in November the treatment "may help outpatients avoid hospitalization and alleviate the burden on our health care system."

Newsweek contacted the Department of Health but didn't receive a response by the time of publication.

Update- 8/20/21 - 10:49 AM- This story has been updated to include comments from Nikki Kimbleton, director of communications for the city of Jacksonville.

Covid Patient Pictured in Jacksonville Florida
A Reddit user posted a viral picture of a COVID patient lying on the floor waiting for monoclonal therapy in Jacksonville. Above, medics transfer a patient near Miami, on August 16. Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images