DHEC, Gov. McMaster encourage monoclonal antibody treatment as SC leads nation in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

A nurse enters a monoclonal antibody site, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Numerous sites are open around the state offering monoclonal antibody treatment sold by Regeneron to people who have tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Governor Henry McMaster on Friday issued a statement encouraging the use of monoclonal antibody therapy to treat COVID-19.

According to recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), South Carolina currently leads the nation in COVID-19 cases by population.

While monoclonal antibody treatments do not protect against COVID-19, they can “greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization and severe illness in those who test positive,” according to McMaster.

Treatments are widely available and do not require inpatient care, thereby alleviating some of the pressure on the healthcare system.

To be eligible for the treatment, patients must be 12 or older, have tested positive for COVID-19, and be experiencing “mild to moderate symptoms that began within the last 10 days.” COVID-19 positive patients that “have been or are currently hospitalized, or have received oxygen to assist with normal breathing” are not eligible.

As of September 1, DHEC estimates that monoclonal antibody treatments have prevented nearly 2,000 hospitalizations and 200 deaths across the state.

Both DHEC and McMaster also emphasized that the best way to prevent hospitalization or death from COVID-19 is to not catch it.

DHEC Director, Dr. Edward Simmer, said that “DHEC recommendations on COVID-19 vaccinations and masking have not changed: we still urge the usage of both and believe they are the best ways to get us out of this pandemic.”

McMaster agreed, saying “beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most effective way to protect ourselves and loved ones from COVID-19 is to make the decision to get vaccinated.”

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