Bamlanivimab

Bamlanivimab

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While most people wait for their turn to be vaccinated, Norton Healthcare is offering new therapies for high-risk COVID-19 patients.

Jackie Bourke, a 59-year-old nurse who is considered high-risk for the coronavirus due to her age and mild hypertension, has been one to benefit the new therapies.

In November, Bourke said her symptoms got progressively worse and she suspected it was COVID-19.

"I went to the immediate care center and they tested me, and I was positive," she said.

After several days at home and a lot of rest, her condition worsened.

"I didn't go out. I notified friends and family, 'Don't come over,' and pretty much I slept for about three days," Bourke said

"My son is an RN, and my husband actually called him and told him that I wasn't doing so good, and he really couldn't wake me up. Our son went and got a 02 monitor from Walgreen, and my oxygen levels where about 90-92% at that time. I didn't even know I was running low on oxygen. I just knew that I didn't feel well."

Bourke eventually went to the hospital, where doctors at Norton Healthcare recommended Bamlanivimab.

"I felt better walking out of there, and I think that might be because I had a bag of IV fluids along with some medication," she said. "That evening, I started to feel a little bit better, and by the next morning, I felt 100% better. I was able to breathe without feeling short of air."

Dr. Joseph Flynn, chief administrative officer with Norton Medical Group, said the purpose of the drug is the prevent high-risk people from being admitted to the hospital.

"It's probably about a 90% reduction in the need to be admitted," he said. "I know we have utilized it now in more than 500 people."

In fact, one of the treatments was used on President Donald Trump last year.

"The Regeneron was one of the drugs, it's my understanding, that he received when he was admitted for COVID," Flynn said.

But health care professionals said the new treatments are not a replacement for the vaccine.

"That is important for everyone to know: Just because you've been treated with this doesn't mean that you don't have to worry about COVID anymore," Flynn said. "It will be important to get the vaccine, and we ask people to wait 90 days."

After two months, Bourke is still not 100% but believes the treatment helped save her life.

"It made a huge impact on my health," she said. "I feel like I would have been in the hospital without that." 

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