MISSOULA — The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Missoula County and with the ever-changing situation, the Montana National Guard continues to help out hospitals in non-clinical areas.
The Guard is now in its second week in Missoula, supporting local healthcare workers where needed. During a time where we are in a labor shortage across the nation, the Guard has been critical in supporting and filling in those work gaps by performing non-patient care, members of the Guard focus on paperwork, transportation, cleaning, and providing meals.
“Those non-clinical areas are critical for us in terms of support of our clinicians, so they're serving meals, they're cleaning rooms, they're transporting supplies, and then we are -- we've been working with Adrian Beck and her team to see if we could use them to literally transport some patients that might need to go to the Sleepy Inn,” explained St. Patrick Hospital Chief Executive Joyce Dombroski.
"So, there's different ways that we're working with the city and county outside of St Pat's to make sure that that none of them are sitting around,” Dombrowski continued. “And I can assure you they're very busy and they're very pleasant and they, they have such a can-do spirit it's been, it's been wonderful and we are grateful for their help.”
Health officials say that because the situation is fluid and the best thing to do is get vaccinated against COVID-19. They stress that getting the vaccine does not mean you won’t test positive from covid, but it helps minimize hospitalizations and mortality rates.
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website showed an additional 144 cases, as well as 1,992 active cases, were being reported in Missoula County on Tuesday. To date, a total of 14,056 cases have been confirmed in the county including 11,932 recoveries and 132 deaths.
The COVID-19 vaccination rate is at 65% of the eligible population in Missoula County with 68,317 residents now fully vaccinated.