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With COVID-19 surging across Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz has announced that the capacity to provide monoclonal antibody treatment will increase by 50% in the Twin Cities as part of a partnership with M Health Fairview.

The health company announced it is opening a monoclonal antibody clinic at its facility in Columbia Heights, which will be able to provide 300 treatments a week to those with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Department of Health says it will be adding an additional 140 appointments a week at its St. Paul clinic. The Office of Gov. Tim Walz also said it has requested federal FEMA assistance to provide extra healthcare staff support for the central region of the state.

Monoclonal antibodies can speed up the recovery from COVID-19. They've been used as an outpatient treatment for those with mild to moderate COVID symptoms that started within the past 10 days, in patients who are at a high risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

“From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve worked hard to protect the health and safety of Minnesotans at every turn,” said Gov. Walz. “That’s why we’re working to expand access to monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatments for Minnesotans, strengthening our efforts to get Minnesotans across the state the resources they need to fight this virus."

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The monoclonal antibody clinics cannot provide walk-in treatment, with patients and providers instead having to make appointments using the Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform.

M Health Fairview says that the treatment will see patients given four injections at the same appointment, with patients asked to wait in their cars until their turn. The whole visit should take about 90 minutes, of which an hour is observation to make sure they don't have a reaction (which is very rare).

"Monoclonal antibodies are created in a lab and act much like the natural antibodies we already have," M Health Fairview said in a release. "They can be added to a person’s bloodstream either through an IV or a series of injections to help strengthen the body’s natural defense against COVID-19."

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