BOZEMAN — When you think about where we were this time last year in this pandemic, you might think we were in a similar spot - but actually, that’s not the case, according to local officials.
“When we look at the number of cases last year in comparison to this year, we need to keep in mind that the level of community transmission and the contagiousness of the delta variant, so we are in a different type of a pandemic now in terms of the delta variant,” said Lori Christenson, Gallatin City-County Health Officer.
Or in other words:
"When we’re comparing this year to last year, it’s like comparing apples to oranges,” said Christenson.
The health officer said the County is still seeing an increase in positive cases and the community is still seeing high transmission levels. But a notable theme during the meeting was the toll this pandemic is having on healthcare workers.
“And to protect… I’m sorry I’m getting a little choked up. It’s getting really tough again for us,” said Bozeman Health COVID-19 Incident Command Lead Kallie Kujawa.
One thing health officials wanted to clear up was any ideas that they were benefiting from COVID.
“Hospitals and health systems do not get paid more money for COVID-19 patients," said Kujawa. "Hospitals and health systems do not get paid more money when a person passes away from COVID-19. Any allegations to the contrary are absolutely false, and spreading this information must be stopped.”
Kujawa also provided background on the situation at Bozeman Deaconess Health.
“We have had our first pediatric patient hospitalized for COVID-19 in the previous months," said Kujawa. "In the month of August, we had 62 COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Of the adult patients who were hospitalized the youngest was 19. The oldest was 81. All of the COVID-19 patients in the ICU that have required mechanical ventilation have been unvaccinated.”
The full meeting can be found here.