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Gov. DeSantis announces new monoclonal antibody sites in Tampa Bay

Monoclonal antibodies
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Posted at 3:33 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 16:13:59-04

TAMPA BAY — Gov. DeSantis announced new monoclonal antibody sites opening in the Tampa Bay area. There are monoclonal antibody therapy treatment sites in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.

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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The sites have the capacity to serve more than 300 patients a day.

"The sooner you get a monoclonal antibody treatment, the more effective it will be at keeping you out of the hospital and saving your life,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today, we opened additional antibody treatment sites to support Florida hospitals and provide access to critical, early intervention for Floridians. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COVID-19, these sites are a great resource to access this therapy."

Christie O'Sullivan received a monoclonal antibody treatment in March after she tested positive for COVID.

"I was concerned about my immune system. At the time, I had just heard about the monoclonal antibody treatment. It wasn't widely available or people did not really know about it at the time," said O'Sullivan.

O'Sullivan is considered high-risk because she has lupus. Patients must be high-risk for severe illness and be exposed to COVID-19 or test positive for the virus to be eligible for the treatment.

Here is where you can receive monoclonal antibody therapy treatments:

Hillsborough County:
Kings Forest Park
8008 East Chelsea Street
Tampa, Florida 33610
Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Pinellas County:
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
409 South Old Coachman Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Pasco County:
Fasano Center
11611 Denton Avenue
Hudson, Florida 34667
Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Polk County:
Lakes Church
1010 E. Memorial Blvd.
Lakeland Florida
Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Manatee County:
Manatee Memorial Hospital Complex
206 2nd Street East
Bradenton, Florida 34208
Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Highlands County:
Highlands County Agri-Civic Center
4509 George Boulevard
Sebring, Florida 33875
Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

“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 key to this is doing it prior to severe illness setting in. Once you are severely ill and hospitalized and in the ICU, the effectiveness declines. If you do it early in the infection period while the symptoms are still manageable this has been shown consistently to reduce the chance of hospitalization by 70%," said Desantis.

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.