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M Health Fairview’s monoclonal antibody clinic in Columbia Heights will increase our capacity to provide this life-saving treatment by roughly 80 percent.

Community Partnership, News and Events

M Health Fairview opening COVID-19 treatment clinic amid growing case numbers

M Health Fairview is opening a new monoclonal antibody treatment clinic in Columbia Heights on Nov. 23, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and in response to growing demand.

  • November 23, 2021
  • By Staff Writer

M Health Fairview will open a new monoclonal antibody clinic on Nov. 23, expanding access to a promising COVID-19 treatment for Twin Cities residents. The Columbia Heights facility will be run in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health.

The clinic opening comes at a critical time: Minnesota is in the midst of another COVID-19 surge. There have been on average 20,000 new cases in Minnesota every week since the beginning of October 2021 – a significant increase from earlier this summer.

M Health Fairview’s new clinic will expand our health system’s capacity to provide this life-saving treatment by roughly 80 percent. It also answers a pressing need for more access to monoclonal antibody therapy in the Twin Cities. So far, monoclonal antibodies have been primarily available in greater Minnesota – meaning many people must drive for hours to access treatment.

The combined effort of M Health Fairview and the Minnesota Department of Health will increase capacity for monoclonal antibody treatment by 50 percent in the Twin Cities metro area. Our two organizations will be able to offer nearly 450 appointments a week at the new clinic.

“There’s a clear need for more access to monoclonal antibodies in the Twin Cities,” said Hospitalist Andrew Olson, MD, director of COVID-19 hospital medicine at M Health Fairview.  “We’re proud to offer expanded capacity through our partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health. By increasing our capacity to administer this therapy to patients with COVID-19, we may be able to decrease the strain on our emergency departments and hospitals from the continued surge of COVID-19 patients. Together with continued vaccination and other measures such as masking and testing, this site will make a real difference."

The new clinic is also supported by BrightStar Care, providing staffing support that will allow us to run this new site while continuing to deliver high quality care to patients in our existing clinics and hospitals.

How does the treatment work, and how can I make an appointment?

Antibodies are a natural part of the body’s immune system. Their role is to fight bacteria, viruses, and other foreign objects, including COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are created in a lab and act much like the natural antibodies we already have. 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.

Clinical trials show that people who receive monoclonal antibodies are much less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. The treatment received emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for treatment of COVID-19 last year.

Monoclonal antibodies are currently available to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms but haven’t been hospitalized. They must be administered within 10 days of when a person first showed symptoms. Monoclonal antibodies are also available to help prevent COVID-19 in those who have had close contact with the virus but aren’t yet fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised. Monoclonal antibodies can be given to patients 12 years of age and older, who weigh at least 88 pounds. For more information on who qualifies, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Patients at our new monoclonal antibody clinic will receive a series of four injections – all at the same appointment. They will be able to wait in their cars until their turn. The visit itself should take around an hour and a half. This includes an hour-long observation after the treatment to ensure they don’t have a reaction. Clinical trials have shown very few reported adverse reactions.

Those who qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment will be able to make an appointment online through the Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform for COVID-19 Treatment (MNRAP) once the clinic opens next week.

Meeting Minnesota’s evolving needs during the pandemic

M Health Fairview has committed to responding to the community’s evolving needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. When the virus first appeared in Minnesota last year, we set up the state’s first and only dedicated COVID-19 hospital.

“These moves strengthen the capacity of providers in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota to respond to potentially serious COVID-19 cases,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “We thank M Health Fairview for its continued commitment to treating COVID-19 patients by provide this life saving treatment for more than a year.”

“To support this new clinic, we are calling upon students, volunteers, and recently retired staff,” Olson said. “Our healthcare system is already challenged daily with staffing shortages and taking care of our own patients, but the community needs us, and we can’t turn away from that need.”

For more information, and to make an appointment starting Nov. 23, visit the Minnesota Department of Health website. If appointments don’t appear available at the Columbia Heights location, that means we are currently at capacity.