IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Gov. DeSantis announced a new monoclonal antibody site opening in the Immokalee area. There is another monoclonal antibody therapy treatment site in Bonita Springs. In total, the state has opened 21 sites, serving more than 13,000 patients. These treatment sites will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., have the capacity to serve more than 300 patients per day.
Gov. DeSantis says Regeneron is the only treatment designed to keep those infected with COVID-19 out of the hospital. Regeneron, which was approved by the FDA, can be given in a shot-form or an I-V.
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Governor Ron DeSantis along with FDEM Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth Scheppke held a press conference in Immokalee at the Former Winn Dixie to make the announcement.
“If you get sick today either because you are unvaccinated or high risk and you get sick or you get exposed. Or even if you are vaccinated and you have one of these breakthrough infections you have to be high risk, you really need not just the prevention strategy which is the vaccine. But you need the treatment strategy which is where these monoclonal antibodies come in, "said Florida's EMS medical director, Dr. Kenneth Scheppke.
Monoclonal antibody treatments can be prescribed by health care providers to individuals 12 years of age and older who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are at high risk for severe illness and hospitalization.
However, at Governor DeSantis’ direction, there is currently a standing order in Florida signed by the State Surgeon General that allows patients to receive this treatment without a prescription or referral if administered by an eligible health care provider. Such referrals are not required at any of the State of Florida monoclonal antibody treatment sites and treatments are available at no cost to patients.
The antibodies help the immune system recognize and respond effectively to the virus. According to treatment guidelines, they should be administered as soon as possible after the COVID-19 diagnosis.
Residents who wish to get the treatment can make an appointment through the patient portal, or they can drive up to the site and be seen the same day. Masks will be required on-site.
For more information, call the Florida Department of Health Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Support Line at 850-344-9637.