BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Friday morning in Bonita Springs to announce the opening of another monoclonal antibody treatment center.
The site is one of several the governor has traveled the state recently to open. During Friday’s news conference, he said the hope is that by early next week, there will be 21 treatment sites throughout the state.
According to DeSantis, each site has a capacity of 300-320 people but can be expanded accordingly if the demand is there.
“So we are going to be able to do thousands and thousands of these treatments every, day over and above what our health system is already doing, which is also a lot,” DeSantis said.
At least three of the already announced treatment sites are located in Central Florida. A site recently opened at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, one opened at Kiwanis Island Park on Merritt Island and another at a senior center in Ormond Beach. DeSantis said there are possible plans for an additional site in The Villages.
The treatments are free of charge and are available to people who have already tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. The governor said the treatment can also be used as a prophylaxis for people who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 who may have had exposure to somebody who was COVID-19 positive.
DeSantis said the state-run sites are offering Regeneron-brand treatments.
“Regeneron has been proven to be effective against the Delta variant in a way that some of the other monoclonals maybe have not. Regeneron also is the only monoclonal that’s approved for prophylaxis, so if you have positive cases in a nursing home, for example, you can go and offer that to residents in a nursing home that may have been exposed, as well as others in the community, as that’s appropriate. And Regeneron can be applied through an IV, but also they can do it subcutaneously,” the governor said.
While still encouraging vaccinations as an extra layer of protection against the coronavirus, the governor acknowledged breakthrough cases are possible among vaccinated individuals and said the monoclonal antibody treatments are a good option to help lessen the severity of symptoms and keep those infected out of the hospital.
In clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and death, according to Floridahealthcovid19.gov.
If you are 12 years or older and are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, you are eligible for MAT treatment, according to the state-operated website.
Monoclonal antibody treatments are also offered at other locations not run by the state. Use the map below to help locate a MAT site not operated by the state.