CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A potentially lifesaving treatment is now available in the Kanawha Valley to help patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Health officials at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department say the monoclonal antibody infusion clinic will help provide relief to local hospitals.

From large-scale COVID-19 testing events to mass vaccination clinics, the health department has had to adapt during the pandemic.

Now, as the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated, the health department’s “last-ditch” effort is this monoclonal antibody infusion clinic.

“The surge has done nothing but continues to wreak havoc on our patients, on our healthcare system, overloading our hospitals,” said KCHD Health Officer Dr. Sherri Young.

Young says they’ve tried everything.

“If you think that COVID doesn’t affect you because you don’t know somebody with COVID — it affects you if you have a heart attack, it affects you if your family can’t get transport or emergency care if they’re in an accident,” she said.

Staff from the health department volunteered their time ripping out the old carpet in a conference room to install new linoleum flooring and the equipment for the infusion clinic.

The infusion has to be given within 10 days of a patient becoming COVI-19 positive.

It takes 20 minutes, after which the patient will need to be monitored for an hour.

They will still need to quarantine even if they feel better because they’re still considered COVID-19 positive.

“Let me say just one more thing about this program, this is not an excuse to not go get vaccinated,” said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.

Carper was one of several leaders at the press conference for the new clinic who urged residents to get vaccinated – – including Charleston’s Mayor Amy goodwin.

“Do not wait, every single life is so important, please go get vaccinated,” she said.

The clinic is by physician referral only.

The health department is designating separate entrances for walk-in vaccination and COVID-19 testing and the infusion clinic to keep everyone safe.