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Montana hospitals ‘strapped thin’ as cases spike

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 11/16/20

As hospitals around Montana fill with COVID-19 patients, critical care departments are adapting to a rise in cases that likely won’t plateau as winter progresses across the region. Billings Hospital has reported “a critical level of patients in our ICU” and a doctor there has stated that their hospital is “strapped thin.” So far, nurses have been able to double the occupancy of their ICU rooms by putting more than one patient in a room at a time, but if the pandemic continues on its current trajectory, reports NPR, difficult decisions will have to be made. Montana is seeing an average of 866 new COVID-19 cases per day, placing healthcare workers in a difficult place as they care for an influx of patients, prepare for cold and flu season and maintain their own health as well. NPR spoke with Dr. Jamie Riha, a critical care specialist at the Billings Clinic about her experiences during the pandemic so far.

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