BILLINGS — On Monday, Billings Clinic had a total of 44 people hospitalized for COVID-19. That included 16 in the ICU, and eight on ventilators.
The clinic says they have not seen numbers that high since December. Because of the influx of patients, the clinic is currently preparing to expand its hospital capacity.
“We are actively trying to expand our capacity and physical space so we can accommodate more patients. Although we’re able to get more space, one of our biggest challenges is having enough healthcare providers and workers such as nurses and ancillary staff to be able to man those beds,” said Dr. Neil Ku, an epidemiologist at Billings Clinic.
According to Zach Benoit, a public relations liaison at Billings Clinic, the hospital is also in talks with state government about the possibility of bringing in the Montana National Guard for extra support.
According to Benoit, the National Guard would mostly help with non-essential duties such as moving patients, stocking supplies, and cleaning rooms.
Even though the hospital is getting by with the staff they have, Ku says it would be useful to have some extra hands.
“Because of our higher volume of patients in the hospital, and these patients all requiring substantially more care and resources, they make a very huge impact on our capacity in the hospital,” said Ku.
Along with expanding patient and testing capacity, Billings Clinic is also getting ready to start administering booster shots for individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are looking to expand the September 20th date of offering vaccinations to those who have received the MRNA COVID-19 vaccine to receive their additional dose,” said Ku.
The additional dose would be for those who have gone eight months since they received their second vaccine dose.