NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A new federally supported treatment site has opened in Wilkes County, helping fill a need for access to monoclonal treatment.
A partnership between FEMA, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and The Health Foundation opened the facility, which can see up to 36 patients daily.
The site located at 1901 West Park Drive in North Wilkesboro is one of five FEMA is funding in the state, according to a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Ken Bishop is the director of Emergency Management and Business Continuity for Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. He explained the area is a monoclonal desert.
“The ideal patient for this therapy is someone who has just been tested and has received a positive test, and they get straight into the clinic. Consequently, what we’re seeing is very, very mild symptoms, just mild upper respiratory symptoms, cough that kind of thing that can develop very quickly into something worse,” he said.
Patients are referred by physicians, or they can refer themselves before being screened at the facility.
Patients receive four injections of medication in their abdomen before being monitored for about an hour. Bishop said the treatment isn’t for everyone battling the virus.
“Anybody who has advanced symptoms, like really severe upper respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, they’re going to need to be seen in an urgent care or at their physician practice. There’s a possibility that they can be referred to a different type of monoclonal site that does IV infusions, which respond the patient responds to an IV much quicker,” he said.
Most people feel the effects of the treatment in about 10 days.
“What we know is that it works really well, so we’ve tracked this very closely since we started doing it, we know that we’re reducing the rate of hospitalization by about 50%,” said Dr. Brent McQuaid, the lead COVID physician with Cone Health.
He believes the treatment can help ease some of the strain on local hospitals.
“It’s going to float all boats upward if we can get more people providing monoclonal antibodies for patients in our community who have COVID. It’s just going to help everybody, it’s going to help Cone, it’s going to help Novant, it’s going to help Wake Forest, it’s going to do the right thing for our community,” he said.
The clinic is open every day for the next six to eight weeks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last appointments of the day are scheduled at 3:30 p.m.
Appointments are required.
You can find more details about the center here.