Gov. Brad Little announced three COVID-19 antibody treatment centers will open across Idaho as cases surge. Little also announced he will direct $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help health systems address constraints.
The funds will be used to make more space available to COVID-19 patients, address staffing shortages and safely transition patients out of the hospital setting, according to Little's office.
The monoclonal antibody treatment facilities, which involve therapeutic medications for those severely ill with COVID-19, will open in north Idaho, eastern Idaho and the Treasure Valley, according to a news release. Patients visiting the centers must have a referral from a doctor and the treatments are free, according to Little's office.
“There are too many unvaccinated people in our hospitals right now. We need to reduce the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations so everyone else can continue to access healthcare for strokes, heart attacks, car accidents, and other emergencies. We need more Idahoans to choose to receive the vaccine. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to minimize the spread of the disease to the vulnerable. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is also the most effective way to minimize your own risk of hospitalization from the disease. In addition, the new COVID-19 antibody treatment centers should help preserve bed capacity by preventing hospitalization for some people who contract the disease,” Little said in a statement.
Little said north Idaho will be the priority as it is where vaccination rates are lowest in the state and where local hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients.