Orlando Sentinel

New Sanford infusion center aims to keep COVID-19 patients out of hospital

- By Kate Santich

A new antibody-infusion treatment center opens Monday in Sanford, offering hope that Central Florida residents recently diagnosed with COVID-19 can recover quickly and stay out of the hospital.

“It’s basically mimicking the body’s natural response to fight off the virus,” said Janelle Dunn, CEO of True Health, which operates seven nonprofit community health clinics in Seminole and Orange counties.

“But it does so much more quickly. Many individual­s report feeling markedly better within 24 hours.”

The infusion center, at 4240 N. U.S. Highway 17-92, will provide the treatment regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. It targets patients within the first 10 days of a COVID19 diagnosis who have mild to moderate symptoms but are considered at increased risk of hospitaliz­ation — typically because of other health conditions.

A referral from a primary care provider and proof of a positive COVID-19 test will be needed to receive treatment. If patients don’t have a referral, they can be seen by a True Health provider via telehealth to qualify.

The treatment itself takes a little over two hours, Dunn said.

For the first hour, patients will receive an infusion of two monoclonal antibody combinatio­ns, followed by an hour of monitoring.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administra­tion issued an emergency use authorizat­ions for two types of monoclonal antibody treatments last November. The combinatio­n treatment has been more successful than one type of antibodies alone.

The center is open to anyone who meets the treatment criteria, regardless of where they live or whether they’re insured. Those without insurance will not receive a bill, Dunn said, and those with insurance may be eligible to have their co-pay covered. True Health also accepts Medicare and Medicaid.

To schedule an appointmen­t for treatment, go to mytrueheal­th.org/covid19-updates/.

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