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DeSantis: Florida will get four new monoclonal antibody sites, hints at testing restrictions

Gov. Ron DeSantis in Ocala. Photo: Danielle Prieur
Gov. Ron DeSantis in Ocala. Photo: Danielle Prieur

Central Florida will get another monoclonal antibody treatment site, the state announced Monday, as an increase in federal supply is expected.

At as South Florida press conference Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will open new monoclonal antibody sites in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.

“And we’ll do an additional site in Central Florida, and we have the capacity to increase the existing footprint, which we do have a good existing footprint," DeSantis said. "And we have the ability to add five to ten more sites as the demand may be. But that is all contingent on the federal government.”

Florida’s federal allocation of monoclonal antibodies dropped to 3,710 doses in mid-December, but increased to nearly 14,000 doses by the end of the month.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stopped distributing some forms of the COVID-19 treatment while it was laboratory tested against the omicron variant.

Florida continues to break single-day COVID-19 case records as omicron continues to surge in the state. Hospitalizations are rising rapidly as well, with 5,700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide.

DeSantis said hospitals should be reporting how many patients are hospitalized because of COVID-19, versus how many are hospitalized for something else and test positive.

DeSantis and the state’s surgeon general hinted at some form of restriction on testing at the press conference as well, without going into detail. He said Florida needs to focus on "high-value" testing.

“What you are seeing is there are people going to the drug stores, buying all these tests," DeSantis said. "They’ll go multiple times per week to the sites and test, without symptoms. That is just going to contribute to some of the crunch that you are seeing.”

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said they expect to issue guidance soon.

“We need to unwind this planning and living one’s life around testing," Ladapo said. "Without that, we are going to be sort of stuck in the same cycle.”