RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While hospital rooms fill up across the state, the use of COVID-19 treatments has also increased.
The treatment, or monoclonal antibodies, is an hour-long infusion-based therapy meant to keep people out of the hospital.
It is proven to prevent hospitalization by up to 80 percent.
It’s a tool Dr. Lance Okeke with Duke Health told CBS 17 is crucial to ensuring there are enough hospital beds for the most in need.
“You really want to prevent hospitalization so you prevent further stress on the healthcare system that is already overburdened now,” said Okeke.
The sudden demand for treatment has put increased pressure on health workers.
“We’re trying to keep up, the best we can, to staff up our clinics five days a week,” he said. “We’re trying to keep up with demand but the demand, unfortunately, for better or worse, is higher than we would like it to be at this point in the pandemic,”
Patients should seek treatment within 10 days of feeling symptoms. The earlier treatments start, the better.
“We always encourage folks that as soon as you have your symptoms, call your doctor or call one of the hotlines and get your antibody treatment if you’re eligible,” said Okeke.
The doctor said it’s important to distinguish when you should seek monoclonal antibody treatment and when you should go to the hospital.
If a patient feels short of breath, chest pains or any other symptoms that would typically cause alarm, the emergency department is the best choice.
If you have a cough, aches, or other common COVID-19 symptoms, those call for treatment rather than hospitalization.
People who receive monoclonal antibodies should wait 90 days to get vaccinated.
Getting monoclonal antibody treatments is a three-step process.
Step 1: Meet eligibility requirements
- You must test positive and have symptoms within the last 10 days
- Have mild or moderate symptoms
- At high-risk for serious illness
Step 2: Get approved
- Call your doctor to get a referral for monoclonal antibody treatment
- If you do not have a healthcare provider, call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585.
Step 3: Find a treatment center
- Click here to find an infusion clinic near you
FEMA-run infusion sites
Smithfield Hospital Campus
517 N. Brightleaf Blvd. Smithfield, NC 27577
Harnett County Health Department
420 McKinney Parkway
Lillington, NC 27546
The Health Foundation – inside 6 bed MMU
1902 W Park Dr, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
UNC Southeastern Ambulatory Care Center
4901 Dawn Drive, Lumberton NC 28358
Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital
3990 E. US Hwy 64 Alt.