Dalton City Council approves COVID-19 treatment for Whitfield County jail inmates

Inmates at the Whitfield County jail who test positive for COVID-19 now have access to a treatment that can dramatically reduce their chances of hospitalization or death.

The Dalton City Council voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve a memorandum of understanding with Whitfield County that will give the jail access to the city's Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment for the disease. Mayor David Pennington typically votes only if there is a tie, and one council seat is vacant.

"We plan to put this to good use, and we have great hopes that it will be well received by the inmate population," said sheriff's office Capt. Wesley Lynch. "The treatment itself will be voluntary, of course. We also plan on releasing educational materials to our inmates informing them of the potential benefits."

A person's antibodies work by binding to a virus or bacteria and preventing it from infecting that person's body. Monoclonal antibodies are made by cloning natural antibodies. The technology has been around for about 30 years and is used to combat cancer and other diseases.

In an August press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said monoclonal antibodies are "underutilized" and can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 70% to 85%.

The council members also voted 3-0 to approve a $73,019 contract with Alpha Commercial Roofing of Alpharetta to replace the roof of Fire Station 2 off Abutment Road.

The council members also held the first reading of an ordinance that would revise a previous ordinance requiring Georgia Power customers and North Georgia Electric Membership Corp. customers inside the city limits to pay the city government a 4% franchise fee. Under the proposed ordinance the start of the fee would now be Oct. 1.

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