More than 10,000 have received antibody treatment

Residents have their blood drawn for an antibody test for the coronavirus, also called a serology test, June 16, 2020 in Washington, DC (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Florida has administered monoclonal antibody treatment to more than 10,000 people to try to prevent severe illness from COVID-19, a top state official said Wednesday. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed to set up mobile clinics offering monoclonal antibody treatment as a way to relieve pressure on hospitals dealing with a surge of patients infected with COVID-19. 

So far, 18 locations are offering the treatment, and a 19th site is opening in The Villages. During a news conference Wednesday to announce the new Central Florida location, Kenneth Scheppke, chief medical officer for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said the state has provided the treatment to more than 10,000 patients since the first clinic was set up on Aug. 12 in Jacksonville. 

The DeSantis administration has not released data on the number of procedures performed at each clinic. The treatment, produced by the drug company Regeneron, is administered to people who have been recently infected with COVID-19. 

Patients receive the treatment free of charge because the state is administering doses previously purchased by the federal government. 

Each of the mobile clinics is capable of treating 300 people a day. Scheppke said many of the locations started out slowly but began filling once people became aware that the state was handing out the treatment.

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