St Peter's Health

HELENA, Mont. - St. Peter’s Health gave an update on COVID-19 Tuesday, saying they are seeing a near record number of community members hospitalized with COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, 31 community members were hospitalized with the virus, and according to St. Peter’s Health, their ICU and Advanced Medical Unit (AMU) are 100% full.

As of the update, 7 of the 8 patients in the ICU were fighting COVID-19, and all of their AMU patients are experiencing complications due to the virus.

“Seeking care is safe. Our staff are working remarkably hard and doing an amazing job caring for our community,” St. Peter’s Health wrote. “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.”

People are being asked to focus energy and attention on taking preventative measures, like vaccination and masking to slow the spread of the virus in the area.

St. Peter’s Health is also reminding everyone that community members are grieving, and to offer support and loving-kindness to those in your life and in the community impacted by COVID-19.

In addition to the update on Tuesday, St. Peter’s Health also shared the following information to illustrate to the public what it is like inside their walls:

  • On Sunday, at one point,14 out of 18 rooms in our emergency department were occupied by seriously ill community members with COVID-19.
  • Over 60 community members are currently on home oxygen due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • We have instituted a new practice, proning teams in our ICU. Proning is when we turn ventilated patients with severe COVID-19 complications onto their stomachs for hours at a time to improve oxygenation. Proning is something typically done at large medical centers, not community hospitals - it is a high-risk procedure and requires many staff. Our staff is now trained to do this locally to help save lives. The formal proning teams include staff from across our organization and now national guard team members. Formalizing proning groups will help us ensure we have the right people in the right place at the right time to provide this high level of care while continuing care for other critically ill patients.
  • We are ventilating more critically ill patients than ever before. For example, we typically use 100 x 100ml of propofol each year, the main sedative used for ventilated patients. This year so far, we've used 700 x 100 ml of propofol for critically ill patients, which demonstrates the increased number of severely ill patients and the extended periods many people require ventilation.

St. Peter’s Health is continuing to offer its drive-through and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination opportunities, and anyone eligible who is not yet vaccinated is encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Anyone due for a second dose is also encouraged to prioritize making an appointment.

You can find local appointments online here.

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