JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment center that opened last week in downtown Jacksonville moved Tuesday to a long-term site at the Main Library downtown.
The new location, using the 304 N. Main St. entrance to the library building, has triple the capacity of a mobile unit and has 300-plus spots available daily, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The original news release said it was only open Monday through Friday, but News4Jax confirmed with staff it will be open weekends, as well.)
Preregistration is suggested by visiting patientportalfl.com, but it is not required.
There was a small line when the new location opened Tuesday.
“It’s important because I was positive yesterday. I did a home test,” said 80-year-old Pat Shotwell as she visited the clinic on Tuesday. “I was not going to take the shot (because) my daughter said, ‘You can’t be around the boys if you don’t take the shot. I took the shot but I have two weeks to go to get the other.”
In the treatment room, people are given four shots -- two in the arm and two in the stomach area. They are injected with what can best be described as a fake antibody that helps fight off the coronavirus.
Scott Norteman, who received the treatment, said it was not a problem. He said it’s better than going to the hospital with COVID-19.
“I want to prevent getting to the stage where it’s serious, go to the hospital I have some high-risk issues, as well, so I don’t want to take any chances,” Norteman said.
Not everyone at the site on Tuesday was there for the treatment. Shermy Graham was helping people from her facility get the treatment.
“We are working with elderly mainly, and they’ve been exposed, and we have a surge right now in the facility, and we’re trying the best we can to keep them safe,” said Graham.
Two hours of free parking will be available at the library parking garage (via the first floor and first-floor ramp) and the garage located at 33 West Duval St.
The city said any parking meter spot marked “patient parking” can also be used on West Duval Street between Ocean and Laura streets, as well as meters marked “patient parking” on Monroe Street between Laura and Main streets.
The Jacksonville facility had been located at the old courthouse lot.
DeSantis last Thursday announced Jacksonville’s monoclonal antibody treatment center for high-risk residents in the early stages of a COVID-19 infection. It’s part of the state’s effort to expand the treatments across Florida. DeSantis said the treatment that has emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the best ways to reduce hospitalizations in the state outside of getting vaccinated.
The state’s surgeon general signed an order allowing eligible people age 12 and older to receive the treatment without a prescription or referral if administered by an eligible health care provider.
Additionally, the FDA has authorized the Regeneron treatment for some patients who are exposed to COVID-19 even if they are not showing symptoms.
Monoclonal antibody treatment should be administered as soon as possible after COVID-19 diagnosis or as soon as a high-risk individual is aware of exposure -- and within 10 days of symptom onset.
The treatment is normally very costly, but at the state site in Jacksonville, it is free. If you have insurance, they will take the information. But if you don’t, you can be treated.