BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is deploying three mobile units to administer monoclonal antibody treatment to high-risk individuals who have been exposed to or have COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday.
The clinics have the capacity to treat up to 500 patients per week with therapies that have can help reduce the severity of the disease and keep COVID-19-positive individuals from being hospitalized.
Two of the new mobile units — currently in Fall River and Holyoke — began administering monoclonal antibody treatment to patients last week, according to the administration. A third unit is set to be deployed to Everett on Friday.
The mobile clinics will increase access to monoclonal antibody treatment in Massachusetts, according to the Republican. The mobile clinics can be relocated based on demand.
Referral from a health care provider is required for treatment at any of the three new mobile clinics. Treatment will be provided at no cost to the patient and offered regardless of immigration status or health insurance. Patients should talk to their doctor about whether monoclonal antibody treatment is right for them.
Mobile clinic staff will also be offering the treatment in community locations like nursing homes, assisted living residences, and congregate care settings.
Massachusetts residents can also receive monoclonal antibody treatment at 32 publicly available locations. A map of sites can be found at the state’s Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Locator.
Positive or exposed patients age 12 and older at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness are eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment. The single intravenous infusion treatment takes about 20 to 30 minutes, followed by an hour of patient monitoring.
If administered within 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the one-time therapy can prevent symptoms from worsening.
The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 31 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic to nearly 19,000.