BUTTE — St. James Healthcare in Butte now has a clinic that can give antibody treatment to those sick with COVID-19.
“This clinic will reduce the strain on St. James, reduce the hospitalizations and open up ICU beds for the most critical patients,” said Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte.
In a news conference, the governor announced a private health firm will run a clinic at the Butte hospital to provide monoclonal antibody treatment for non-hospitalized patients who’ve tested positive for COVID-19.
Gianforte said the antibody treatment should reduce hospitalization and reduce the strain on hospital staff during the pandemic.
“They’re especially strained, they’re tired and we need to continue to do all we can to alleviate the burden that they continue to carry,” the governor said.
The antibody treatment is for those already infected with the virus.
“Monoclonal antibodies are important for preventing hospitalization and death. They are not a replacement for vaccination,” noted State Health Officer Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek.
While the governor stressed the importance of everyone getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he held firm to his stance that he will not require mandates for people to get vaccinated.
“People who have the most credibility with vaccine-hesitant people are their peers and the medical community, not government officials," Gianforte said.
"So, I could do all I want, but we need friends to tell friends that they got it and it helped them,” the governor concluded.