ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – Over a dozen members from the U.S. Department of Defense will be coming to Utah to help the state in its fight against COVID-19.
On Tuesday, a correspondent with Reuters reported the military has said it will deploy a monoclonal antibody infusion team to Utah. Within the team are 15 active-duty personnel. Troops have already been deployed to Alabama, Idaho, and Washington.
The Utah Department of Health has already worked to open or support three sites for monoclonal treatment – the Murray field hospital site, Davis Hospital in Layton, and Nomi Health in Orem. Now, UDOH’s Charla Haley says they are preparing to open a fourth site – a fixed site in St. George.
As Haley explains, Utah’s hospitals have been providing monoclonal antibody treatments in Utah for about a year. Monoclonal antibody treatment is given through an intravenous or IV infusion. The process takes about 2-3 hours, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. To receive the treatment, which is an infusion of lab-created antibodies that can be used to combat COVID-19, you need to already test positive for the virus.
“As we continue to experience a significant medical surge and high hospitalization rates, the UDOH, through its incident command, has activated a monoclonal antibody capacity expansion project,” Haley tells ABC4. To do so, UDOH has optimized the Murray field hospital and partnered with Davis Hospital and Nomi Health. By opening the St. George fixed site, Haley says UDOH hopes to expand access to monoclonal antibody treatments, which can “can reduce some of the new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations occurring in Utah.”
To expand and use the capacity available, UDOH requested federal monoclonal treatments teams through FEMA. The request was successful and Utah has been approved for two missions – a team of public health service clinicians to support expanding the Murray site and a team of Department of Defense clinicians to staff and manage the St. George site.
Haley says an exact opening date for the St. George site has not yet been determined but will likely be later this week.
Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare recently found treating high-risk COVID-19 patients with a monoclonal antibody treatment can reduce severe illness and hospitalizations by more than 50%. They also found monoclonal antibody treatment saved many patients from dying due to complications from the virus.
For more on monoclonal antibody treatment, click here.