Opelousas, LA – September 20, 2021, On Tuesday, September 7, the Opelousas General Health System announced the hospital has added a treatment site for monoclonal antibody therapy (mAb) at its South Campus. The new site is in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health.
This site is open 5 days per week (Monday through Friday) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with an ability to serve approximately 50 patients daily.
For mAb therapy, patients must have a referral by their physician, community clinic or urgernt care clinic. Only medical providers can schedule appointments. This can be done by calling LDH’s clinical hotline at (337) 678-4700.
“We have been offering monoclonal antibody infusion since it became available but have only been able to do so in a limited capacity, due to staffing constraints and the need to shift staff to care for inpatients. We have seen significant improvement in COVID positive patients who meet the criteria and receive the infusion, in many cases reducing the severity of symptoms and reducing the need for being hospitalized. Through the collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Health, we were able to secure much needed physician, nursing, and administrative staffing to better meet the needs of our community,” said Tim Marks, Chief Population Health & Clinical Integration Officer at Opelousas General.
Recently, LDH has aggressively worked to expand access to mAB treatment by opening at least two sites in all nine public health regions of Louisiana. In each region, the State is locating a site in a city and one in a more rural area.
LDH’s Bureau of Community Preparedness has led the effort to select qualified contractors who can quickly develop and staff sites – infusion centers – where mAb treatments will be offered.
Monoclonal antibodies are man-made antibodies produced in a laboratory that can mimic the human immune system response to infection. mAbs are designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, thus neutralizing the virus that causes COVID-19.
Monoclonal antibody treatments must be prescribed by a physician. The treatment is done by intravenous (IV) infusion. mAbs may only be administered in settings in which health care providers have immediate access to medications to treat severe infusion reactions, such as allergic reaction, and the ability to activate the emergency medical system, as necessary. The new infusion centers all meet this requirement.
Monoclonal antibody treatments may be used for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who are within 10 days of the start of their symptoms, at least 12 years of age or older and weigh at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds), and are at a high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
For more information about mAbs, visit the LA Department of Health COVID-19 Information Site or the Opelousas General Health System COVID-19 Resources Site.