Health care providers have seen an uptick in requests for monoclonal antibody treatment, which is used to help prevent positive COVID-19 cases from developing into severe cases requiring hospitalization.
Eighteen people in Clallam County and four in Jefferson County had been hospitalized with severe cases of the virus as of Thursday.
The monoclonal antibody treatment is not a prophylactic like a vaccine but rather is only for people who have tested positive for the virus and who are also at high risk.
“I have heard talk on some radio stations that monoclonal antibodies are a replacement for the vaccine, and they are not,” said Dr. Allison Berry, public health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.
The numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
New cases confirmed
On Thursday, Clallam County confirmed 111 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total number of confirmed cases to 3,377 since the pandemic began, according to public health data.
Jefferson County added 18 new cases on Thursday, raising its total number of confirmed cases to 841 since the pandemic began, according to public health data.
The monoclonal antibodies treatment can be obtained at three places on the North Olympic Peninsula, once there is confirmation of the necessity for it.
The Jefferson Healthcare nurse triage team on the COVID-19 hotline of 360-344-3094 works closely with doctors to identify the appropriate candidates for treatment, said Amy Yaley, hospital spokesperson.
“We provide therapy to a couple of patients a day. A significant limitation to the number of patients we can provide therapy to is staffing,” she said. “Patients do not schedule, the nurses and the providers make that determination when the positive patients are contacted with results.”
Yaley has not heard of any other facility in Jefferson County offering the treatment.
In Clallam County, the treatment is available at Olympic Medical Center and through Cammack’s Clinical Services at Jim’s Pharmacy and Home Health at 424 E. Second St. in Port Angeles.
Berry said she is grateful to Cammack’s Clinical Services for providing the REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody treatment since Olympic Medical Center (OMC) has a very limited capacity to provide it due to staffing constraints from the immense patient strain the hospital is experiencing.
Said Scott Kennedy, OMC chief medical officer: “OMC has been receiving referrals for this service from providers throughout the country. We offer this seven days a week, have a good supply, and have been passing information out at our drive through testing about it’s availability.
“We are glad to hear about others in the community, such as Jim’s Pharmacy, offering this treatment as well,” Kennedy said.
High risk conditions for COVID-19 include being over the age of 65, obesity or being overweight, pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment, cardiovascular disease or hypertension, chronic lung diseases and more, with a more defined list published by the Mayo Clinic at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-HiskRiskConditions.
Most high risk patients already know they are at risk for COVID-19.
“We were asked by Washington State Department of Health and Washington State Pharmacy Association this past Monday to offer this treatment in Clallam County,” said Anna Shields, office manager for Cammacks Clinical Services and chief finance officer of Jim’s Pharmacy and Home Health.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.