EL PASO, Texas -- The monoclonal antibody treatment program in El Paso is starting to see larger amounts of people participate as the infusion center changes location.
The treatment works to help a patient's immune system better fight the coronavirus - and prevent the potential for hospitalization.
The infusions had been administered at the El Paso Convention Center, but it is now taking place at the city's Covid Response Center on Alameda.
Since starting slow on Thanksgiving Day, the monoclonal antibody program has improved. According to Wanda Helgesen, executive director of the Border Regional Advisory Council, over 1,900 community members have been infused.
Since moving to the Alameda location, Helgesen said 575 infusions have been administered.
“The goal is to stop anybody’s symptoms from progressing to the point where they would need hospitalization," Helgesen explained.
The monoclonal antibody infusions are being provided by a combination of local hospitals, the state, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Part of the reason more people are participating in the program is because of efforts to make the program more known. According to Helgesen, when someone receives a notification that they have tested positive for the virus at a city testing site, they are also given a notification that they may be eligible for the monoclonal antibody treatment.
To be eligible, a person must be positive for the virus and be 65 years and older or have chronic medical conditions. You must also pass a screening from your medical provider or at one of the city urgent cares to get approval for the program.
Helgesen wanted to stress that no one can just show up to get the antibody infusion, they must be screened first.