By Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is urging seniors who contract COVID-19 to ask their health care providers about certain drugs that could prevent them from getting so sick that they wind up in the hospital.

Lee told reporters Friday that monoclonal antibodies are available and very effective, especially for people who are 65 or older and have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus.

He said many people do not ask their health care providers about the treatment option. He said the drugs are effective when someone becomes sick but has not deteriorated enough to be hospitalized.

State Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said the therapeutics are 85% to 95% effective at preventing progression to severe disease.

“We have not used our entire inventory, nowhere close to that,” Piercey said. “And so we really are trying to get the word out to seek treatment early once you test positive.”

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