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Officials encourage monoclonal treatment for COVID-19 cases

"The infusion I received saved my life, saved me from a ventilator and death," said San Diego Councilmember Jen Campbell.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, but right now cases are rising. Officials are encouraging San Diegans to take advantage of available treatments.

Pearlie Aguinaldo is a retired ICU nurse and incoming President of the Philippine Nurse Association of San Diego.

Aguinaldo says, "Five days before my scheduled heart surgery, I had flu-like symptoms and it got worse. My surgery was cancelled."

Aguinaldo tested positive for COVID-19 and received monoclonal antibody treatment. 

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"The day I got home, I was feeling better. Between one to two days, I felt better," said Aguinaldo.

So did Councilmember Jennifer Campbell after she received treatment. 

"The infusion I received saved my life, saved me from a ventilator and death," said Campbell. 

That is why county officials recommend treatments including monoclonal antibodies, oral and intravenous antivirals, and the anti-viral pill, Paxlovid if you test positive for COVID-19.

"These treatments are available at no cost regardless of immigration or health insurance status," said Dr. Jennifer M. Tuteur, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, San Diego County Medical Services. "Paxlovid is proven to be 88% effective in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death. Monoclonal antibodies are 70% more effective at reducing that risk."

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher says the county continues to promote Paxlovid. 

"To date, we are at nearly 10,000 monoclonal treatments," said Fletcher.

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Meanwhile, Aguinaldo hopes her story will encourage others to seek treatment. 

"We have to let people know that there is time to let your doctor know. Awareness is important and letting people know that there are treatments now," said Aguinaldo. 

Monoclonal Antibody Centers (MARC) are located in Clairemont, Vista, Hillcrest, and Chula Vista and are open to the public.

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