St Peter's Health

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. 

Despite the cases in the hospital, St. Peter's reminds the community that seeking care is safe. 
 
"Our staff are working remarkably hard and doing an amazing job caring for our community. Don't delay needed medical care. We have procedures in place like universal masking to mitigate risk of transmission within our walls - at the hospital, at our Urgent Cares and in all our outpatient clinics," they wrote.
 
St. Peter's also advises the community to be kind and to continue safe practices and preventative measures such as masking, social distancing and getting vaccinated.
 
"We want everyone to remember that members of our community are grieving... families, friends and caregivers. Please, please offer support and loving-kindness to those in your life and in our community impacted by COVID-19. Please recognize this continues to be a hard time for many," they wrote.
 
COVID-19 vaccine drive-through and in-clinics are still being held for those who would like to receive their first dose. For those who need their second dose, St. Peter's encourages you to schedule an appointment.
 
You can visit https://www.helenamontanamaps.org/LCPHCovid19HUB/ to find local appointments.

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