Gov. DeSantis puts pressure on feds to give more COVID antibody doses to Florida

Florida reopening monoclonal antibody treatment sites

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Broward Health. (WPLG)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday held a news conference in Jacksonville, which was delayed by a group of citizens and activists who wanted to question the governor about his pandemic policies, to put more political pressure on the Biden Administration to release more monoclonal antibody treatment doses to Florida.

The group of citizens and activists was informed that the press briefing was only for credentialed members of the media and asked to leave.

When they refused, a local activist, Ben Frazier, was placed in handcuffs and removed from the building. He was placed inside a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cruiser and driven away from the Florida Department of Health in Duval County building.

The news conference began shortly after the non-media attendants were removed. The Republican governor was joined by Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller and Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.

[TRENDING: Passengers quarantine in hotel instead of going home after cruise | Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately? | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

The governor said the state is prepared to open state-run monoclonal antibody treatment sites, including one in Jacksonville, within 24 to 48 after the state receives the doses of the treatment. However, he added that the Department of Health and Human Services was not supplying the state with enough doses to meet the need.

“We’re ready, we’ve prepared but they’re not sending us the doses and so we just got the announcement from HHS and Florida was allocated less than 12,000 doses,” DeSantis said. “And to put that in perspective, we were doing 4,500 a day at the summer peak in August. So, for a state with 22 and a half million — we probably have 25 million people at this time a year, you look the snowbirds and the tourists, all that stuff — to do 12,000 doses that is totally, totally inadequate.”

The briefing comes day after he announced that he is reopening state-run sites for monoclonal antibody treatments for those with COVID.

On Monday, DeSantis had said that he had requested 30-40,000 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment.

In addition to the calls for more antibody doses, the governor and the surgeon general revealed some more information on the new guidelines the state is expected to release regarding testing.

“I think though that what you’ve seen is they just haven’t had the supply where it needed to be. You know if your policy is force testing to travel the CDC saying you have to get a negative test may be to go back to work — we won’t follow that in Florida, but that’s what they’re saying — a lot of those tests are not a good use of testing,” DeSantis said.

Ladapo elaborated some, but did not give specific details on the new guidelines.

“So the guidelines that we’re going to be putting out are guidelines that will identify populations for whom testing is more likely to change outcomes,” the doctor said. “If you do a test and it doesn’t improve anything, what was the point of the test, right? And we don’t always know which is why we talk about risk factors. So the guidance that we’re going to be putting out, we’ll be talking about will be providing guidance about testing based on risk factors based — on risk level. Because that’s the primary item that determines whether or not a test is actually likely to make a difference.”