SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – As hospital beds fill up across the state, FEMA is helping open more treatment sites for people sick with COVID-19.
FEMA is assisting with five monoclonal antibody sites in Johnston, Harnett, Wilkes, Robeson and Cherokee counties. Ultimately, freeing up more hospital beds.
Johnston County Health showed CBS 17 where its new monoclonal antibody site is going.
It opens Wednesday morning in Smithfield.
Johnston County Health said its goal is to treat about 20 people a day.
It will be a site for people who tested positive for COVID and are at risk of severe illness or are already sick from it.
The therapy takes about an hour long and consists of four shots.
People tend to feel better within two days.
“We’re going to begin with four chairs and see how that goes and if we feel like we can social distance and increase that number, we will,” said Ruth Marler, chief operating officer and chief nurse at Johnston Health.
The goal is to keep people out of the hospital.
The delta variant led the area hospitals to reach capacity.
“I think this will make a great difference. We see this has decreased hospitalizations,” said Dr. Marilyn Pearson, public health director for Johnston County.
Smithfield’s one of five sites in the state getting federal assistance for the antibody treatments. Four of the sites are newly opening.
One is getting help with more staff.
There are about 200 sites across the state offering this therapy.
Experts say although they’re a great resource to have, the best protection is to get vaccinated.
“The vaccine is the best treatment. If you can get the vaccine, we always recommend you get the vaccine,” said Pearson.
The Smithfield site is going to be operating seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
They’re doing appointments only and by phone at 919-268-1621.
For more information on the other sites, click here.
The five sites receiving FEMA assistance are:
Smithfield Hospital Campus
517 N. Brightleaf Blvd.
Smithfield, NC 27577
Harnett County Health Department
420 McKinney Parkway
Lillington, NC 27546
The Health Foundation – inside 6 bed MMU
1902 W Park Dr, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
UNC Southeastern Ambulatory Care Center
4901 Dawn Drive
Lumberton NC 28358
Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital
3990 E. US Hwy 64 Alt.