Despite uptick in COVID-19 cases, Bozeman Health continues operating at full capacity

Posted at 10:07 AM, Jul 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-11 12:07:38-04

Montana confirmed more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, setting a new single-day record for the state.

And while numbers do continue to go up in Gallatin County as well, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital says that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to reduce operational capacity like in the early months of the pandemic.

“Right now we do not have any plans for re-phasing or going back in our phases,” said Kallie Kujawa, Incident Commander, Bozeman Health.

So that means the hospital will remain in its third phase, working at full capacity since June 1.

According to Incident Command, it’s not so much the number of cases that will trigger a re-phasing plan. It’s the number of hospitalizations.

“Most of the recommendations that we have reviewed really surround our capacity to care for in-patients. And we will continue to use that as an indication for when we should consider plans for reducing services,” said Kujawa.

Bozeman Health has 86 licensed beds at Deaconess Hospital and 8 at Big Sky Medical Center. So if they start to see more hospitalizations, they have a plan.

“We have surge plans that are in place. And those surge plans allow us to go up to 145 beds,” Kujawa said. And that’s when we’d likely see the hospital re-phasing.

“We would need to start reducing services elsewhere. And if we do get into that inpatient surge, we will have to relocate staff from other locations in the facility to be able to staff additional locations in the hospitals,” said Kujawa.

In the meantime, you can still make an appointment to visit your provider. But there may be situations where telehealth medicine is recommended, even while the hospital operates at full capacity.

“We have made workflows to allow for telemedicine visits as well as in-person visits when it’s warranted,” said Kujawa. “And really, the only way to know which type of visit is recommended, they should call their provider office to determine that.”