BUTTE — Many staff members at the Southwest Montana Community Health Center in Butte have been cut down by COVID-19.
The rest that remain are getting overwhelmed with phone calls from a public worried and scared over the virus.
“They’re not particularly nice about it, so my staff is feeling a bit tired right now,” said Dr. Serena Brewer, the medical director for the health center.
The health center has 20 staff members out on quarantine and lacks enough people to conduct testing, so health officials are asking people in Butte to not seek testing, even if they are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, people should self-quarantine for two weeks if they feel cold-like symptoms.
The surge of positive cases is putting a strain on the local resources.
“What we’re really worried about are those people who are not okay managing at home on their own and needing to be able to see them, help them and figure out if they need to be hospitalized,” said Brewer.
The health center is taking applications for part-time help to assist in conducting drive-up testing at the Butte Civic Center. Testers are conducting an average of 300 tests per shift, so more help is needed.
“About four hours of your day working for us to try to get a hold of this pandemic we’d like to have you with us,” said Brewer.
If things seem bad right now, health officials say it could get much worse after the Thanksgiving holiday, that’s why they’re asking people to avoid traveling and to celebrate Thanksgiving in a small group with immediate family.
“I want to go home so bad and see my family, but it is not safe, it’s not safe to them, it’s not safe to me and I’m making the same ask of the community, please, please, please limit your Thanksgiving activities,” said Brewer.
People can apply for the testing assistant positions at the Southwest Montana Community Health Center website and no experience is necessary.