Blue Ribbon Committee on Health
April 7, 2021
For patients who enter the hospital with severe COVID-19, a number of other treatment options may be considered by and discussed with your health care providers. For more information on those in-patient treatment options, click here. These FAQs explore treatments available to those in the very early stages of the disease.
I tested positive for COVID-19 what should I do now?
- First, isolate yourself – stay home, separating yourself from any other household members.
- If you have symptoms, remain in isolation for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear and continue through a full day (24 hours) after symptoms have disappeared.
- If you do not have symptoms, remain in isolation for at least 10 days have passed since the date of the first positive test.
- Follow the NH DHHS isolation guidelines.
- Second, let your primary care provider know. NH DHHS may want to include your test in a search for variants, especially if you are asymptomatic, have been vaccinated, had COVID-19 before, or have traveled.
- Importantly, ask your healthcare provider about treatments. If you do not have a healthcare provider, NH DHHS suggests you contact ConvenientMD to ask about treatment. If you need emergency care, do not delay, go to your nearest Emergency Room.
Is there a treatment that can reduce my risk of severe illness and hospitalization for COVID-19?
Yes. There are now monoclonal antibody treatments that have received emergency use authorization from the FDA These treatments may reduce your risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. These treatments are only appropriate for patients meeting the FDA’s definition of high risk and must be administered promptly.
What are monoclonal antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic your immune system's ability to attack the COVID-19 virus. Research suggests that these monoclonal antibodies block the virus that causes COVID-19 from attaching to human cells, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm. Monoclonal antibodies may also neutralize or destroy the virus. Specifically, the FDA has given emergency use authorization for bamlanivimab in combination with etesevimab and the combination of casirivimab in combination with imdevimab to treat nonhospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 disease.
What do you mean by “they must be administered promptly”?
To be effective, monoclonal antibody treatments must be given as quickly as possible to those at high risk when they test positive, and are either still without symptoms or have mild to moderate symptoms, such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19 or being treated with oxygen because of COVID-19 are not eligible.
Who are considered “high risk patients”?
High risk individuals include:
- all persons 65 years of age and older
- persons 55-64 with high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, diabetes and those who are immunosuppressed.
- persons aged 12 to 17 years who weigh at least 88 pounds and have one these additional factors:
- a Body Mass Index in the 85th percentile or above, for their age and gender based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts,
- Sickle cell disease
- Congenital or acquired heart disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy
- A medical-related technological dependence, for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19),
- Asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication for control.
All high-risk individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately upon receiving that result to determine if they are eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment and where they can receive it.
How is the treatment administered?
The treatment involves an intravenous infusion (IV) that takes about an hour.
What does it cost?
The monoclonal antibody serum is provided free from the federal government.
Where can I get this treatment?
These treatments are available at various locations throughout New Hampshire.
If your healthcare provider determines you are eligible, they will schedule an appointment at one of these locations. Then that Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Site will contact you. If it is determined you meet clinical criteria, the site will provide specific instructions on your appointment.
Do I still need to get a vaccination after receiving monoclonal antibodies?
Yes. You will still need to receive a COVID-19 vaccination for long-term protection. NH DHHS currently recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine should NOT be given for at least 90 days after a person receives passive antibody therapy as treatment for COVID-19 (i.e., convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies).