KNOXVILLE — What could have been a devastating outcome for a local long-term care facility turned into a positive collaborative effort across the Knoxville community between Knoxville Hospital & Clinics (KHC), Knoxville Fire & Rescue, and the long-term care facility.

In mid-December, one of the local long-term care facilities experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 where over a two-week span, 58 residents tested positive – nearly 85 percent of its residents.

Seeing the urgency to assist, with the cooperation from the Knoxville Fire & Rescue to transport the patients, KHC quickly stepped in offering to provide Bamlanivimab – a new monoclonal antibody treatment commonly referred to as “BAM” – to the residents.

From long-term care staff identifying the patients needing the BAM treatment and physicians placing the orders, Knoxville Fire & Rescue transporting the residents to KHC, and KHC staff preparing medications, providing nursing care, organizing paperwork, and cleaning and sanitizing rooms – it was a joint collaborative effort that resulted in a wonderful outcome. Over a two-week span, 52 infusions were given – between five to 10 patients per day, including weekends and holidays.

Bamlanivimab, a new monoclonal antibody treatment, is meant to help certain high-risk coronavirus patients fight the COVID-19 virus as it enters the body and stops it from reproducing, which in turn prevents even more severe symptoms from occurring.

The BAM treatment was approved by the FDA for emergency use in early November 2020 and has been used to treat COVID-19 positive patients who had symptoms for less than 10 days and a high risk of developing complications.

BAM cannot be given to patients who are already hospitalized or requiring oxygen due to COVID-19. The first BAM dose was given to patients at KHC in late November.

“Devastating situations like this make you appreciate having established working relationships in the community where you can pick up the phone and say, ‘here is how we can help you.’ This turned out to be a very positive process,” Jan Myers, Chief Nursing Officer at KHC, said. “Not only did this collaborative effort have a huge impact on the patients and their family members, but our whole community.”

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