MISSOULA — COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Missoula County, and with the ever changing situation, the healthcare system is becoming increasingly overrun.
“Other than older adults. We're really seeing it spread all across age groups,” said Missoula City-County Health Department COVID-19 Response Incident Commander Cindy Farr.
With 198 new COVID cases since Friday, Missoula County is breaking records every week in new infections and hospitalizations. The average daily new cases per 100,000 people in Missoula is 89.
The highest infection rate throughout the pandemic has been among young adults. Although in Missoula, roughly 19% of kids, ages 0-to-19, make up the new infections, which is the same as 20-to-30-year-old young adults.
St. Patrick Hospital reports that 90% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients that they are seeing are unvaccinated. The hospital reported 35 hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Monday. The hospital is also not accepting out-of-state patients as they do not have the ability to.
St. Patrick Hospital Chief Executive Officer Joyce Domrouski told MTN News the best way to combat the latest COVID-19 surge is by getting vaccinated.
“What the data is showing is that what the symptoms that you'll get are much more mild and you won't end up in the hospital and you certainly won't end up dying, and so again it's the hospitalization and mortality rate that the COVID are designed to diminish and in fact, that's exactly what they've done,” said Dombrouski.
With the ever-changing situation, the Montana National Guard continues to help out hospitals and non-clinical areas. During a time where there's a nationwide labor shortage, the Guard has been critical in supporting and filling gaps by performing non-patient care including paperwork, transportation, cleaning, and providing meals.
Healthcare workers say that the Montana National Guard has been a tremendous help, and although it is unclear how long they will be providing support, with labor shortages, they will likely be here for the foreseeable future.