HELENA, Mont. - In a Facebook post on Tuesday, St. Peter's Health in Helena gave a glimpse into how they are being affected by rising COVID-19 numbers.
A near record number of 31 residents hospitalized with COVID-19 was reported on Tuesday, and the ICU and Advanced Medical Unit are at 100% capacity.
Seven of the eight ICU patients are fighting COVID-19 and all AMU patients are suffering with complications from COVID-19.
At one point on Oct. 3, 14 of 18 emergency rooms were occupied with seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
St. Peter's also said over 60 community members are now on home oxygen.
As far as ventilated patients goes, St. Peter's says they are ventilating more critically ill patients than ever before. For example, they said they typically use 100 x 100ml of propofol each year, the main sedative used for ventilated patients. However, just this year they've used 700 x 100 ml of propofol for critically ill patients.
In order to improve oxygenation in some patients, St. Peter's staff have been trained in and are using proning in the ICU. Proning is when a ventilated patient with severe COVID-19 complications gets turned onto their stomach for hours at a time.
Typically, proning is only done at larger medical centers, but St. Peter's says they have formal proning teams made up of staff from across their organization and National Guardsmen to ensure it is done safely.