RALEIGH – Lumberton is one of four new sites in North Carolina where people can receive free treatment for COVID-19, the state’s main health agency said on Friday.
All four sites, which opened on Friday, offer monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), and treatment will be managed by local organizations in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With the new sites, there are now more than 200 sites in North Carolina offering the treatment that can reduce the likelihood of hospitalization from COVID-19 if caught early.
The Lumberton site is located at Southeastern Health Park, located at 4901 Dawn Drive. Referrals from a primary health care provider based on a positive COVID-19 test are required for this location.
“Although vaccines offer the best protection against COVID-19, treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies are available for people at high risk of serious illness if you have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or if you have been exposed to COVID-19. “said Dr Elizabeth Tilson, NCDHHS State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer.” Expanding access to this potentially life-saving treatment can, if taken early, reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death. ”
Below are the other three new sites and information on how people can make appointments, which are needed:
– Wilkes County: The North Wilkesboro Health Foundation. Call 336-528-1637.
– Johnston County: Smithfield Hospital campus in Smithfield. Call 919-268-1621.
– Harnett County: Harnett Health Sciences Center at Central Carolina Community College in Lillington. Call 910-893-0653.
The state health agency, local partners and FEMA selected the new locations based on a combination of geographic gaps in access to treatment and the regional number of COVID-19 cases. Appointments are required, but patients eligible for treatment do not need to be referred by a health care provider to sites other than Lumberton if they meet medical screening criteria when taking appointment. Identification is not required to receive treatment at FEMA supported sites.
The federal government provides free monoclonal antibody therapy to patients, according to the NCDHHS. However, healthcare providers may charge an administration fee for the treatment. Medicare and many commercial insurance companies cover all costs for patients.
People who believe they are eligible for treatment should ask their health care provider for information about monoclonal antibodies or call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies call center at 1-877-332-6585 (English) or 1- 877-366-0310 (Spanish). The call center can help people who do not have a health care provider. More information, including answers to frequently asked questions about monoclonal antibody treatments, is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/treatment.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins made in the lab to fight infections – in this case, the virus that causes COVID-19 – and are given to patients directly with an IV drip or injection. Some early evidence suggests that this treatment may reduce the amount of virus, or viral load, that causes COVID-19 in a person’s body. A lower viral load can reduce the severity of symptoms and the likelihood of hospitalization.
According to the NCDHHS, vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. All unvaccinated North Carolinians aged 12 and over should receive a COVID-19 vaccine now to protect themselves, their community and those who cannot be vaccinated. Rigorous clinical trials involving thousands of people aged 12 and over have proven that vaccines are safe and effective. Nearly 200 million Americans have been safely vaccinated.
Free COVID-19 vaccines are widely available statewide for anyone 12 years of age and older. To get a vaccine, visit MySpot.nc.gov or call 888-675-4567. Anyone interested in getting the vaccine can text a postcode to 438829 to find nearby vaccine locations.