BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — The state has helped open a monoclonal antibody infusion clinic at St. James Well being in Butte as a part of an effort to cut back the severity of COVID-19 instances and release hospital beds, Gov. Greg Gianforte mentioned Thursday.

The clinic is being run by a personal contractor and might deal with as much as 12 sufferers per day. Whereas monoclonal antibody remedy has been accessible in 41 counties, this clinic relieves St. James of getting to supply workers for the remedy and permits it to be accessible on extra days.

“Undoubtedly this new clinic right here at St. James will save extra lives,” Gianforte mentioned.

Monoclonal antibodies have emergency use authorization as a remedy for COVID-19 for non-hospitalized individuals inside the first 10 days of experiencing signs. They’re additionally approved as a preventative for individuals who have been uncovered to somebody with COVID-19, are at excessive threat of struggling extreme signs and should not absolutely vaccinated.

They work by mimicking an immune system response to the coronavirus.

The brand new clinic in Butte is a pilot program and is a mannequin for clinics that may be arrange in different communities, Gianforte mentioned.

“Whereas we all know monoclonal antibodies are a confirmed technique of life-saving remedy, vaccines supply a confirmed technique of life-saving prevention,” Gianforte mentioned.

Montana is the second-leading state within the nation within the charge of recent COVID-19 instances over the previous two weeks, in line with information from Johns Hopkins.

As of Thursday, simply over 500,000 Montanans are absolutely immunized, which is 54% of the eligible inhabitants.

Gianforte mentioned he’d wish to see the speed of vaccination improve, however making a mandate would seemingly improve hesitancy in those that should not but vaccinated. He inspired individuals to speak to their medical supplier and get a protected and efficient vaccine.

Montana has surveyed unvaccinated residents to attempt to establish a message — and a messenger — to extend the state’s vaccination charge, mentioned Adam Meier, director of the state well being division.

The state can be prepared to just accept vaccines for teenagers ages 5-11 as quickly as they’re authorised and accessible, seemingly early subsequent month, mentioned Maggie Prepare dinner-Shimanek, the appearing state medical officer.