We've all felt the impact of COVID-19 here in Montana, but one family faced an unthinkable situation when a husband and wife were both admitted to the ICU.
"They were related, their disease timelines were similar, and they both needed to be ventilated. We were able to accommodate the family so they could just view them, and see the care," said ICU Nurse, Deanna Evans.
The adult children of Stacey and Eloise Stewart drove two hours to Billings Clinic to see their parents, who were both put into the ICU due to complications from COVID-19. But all they could do was look through windows.
"They can't be there holding their hand and talking to them, and a way to know they are there, so we are the proxy for that," Evans said.
Evans cared for the couple in the unit. She says her work is a mix of medical science and compassion.
"Holistically caring not just for the person that's ill, and connecting them with their loved ones, but also connecting the loved ones with their sick family member," Evans said.
The Stewarts are also the first two patients to share an ICU room at the hospital. There's enough room for 24 critical care patients, but that's been exceeded in the last few weeks.
"It just speaks to the volume of people in our community that need critical care," Evans said.
More personnel are on the way to help, but Evans says there's a message to be heard.
"I think the biggest takeaway is to understand that COVID is in our communities, and you and I could have it and be asymptomatic carriers and not know it," Evans said.
More than 70 temporary staff from across the country are headed to Billings next week to help with the demand for care.