MISSOULA — Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has approved Missoula's request to send National Guard troops to help with the local COVID outbreak.
It's part of an allocation of 70-Montana National Guard members who will be dispatched across the state in the coming days. The Governor's Office announced Tuesday afternoon the Guardsmen will assist local hospital operations this coming weekend, and the following weekend.
Missoula leaders plan to use the 24-personnel to help with hospital operations at Saint Patrick Hospital and Community Medical Center, as well as assist with services for the homeless at the Poverello Center and the Sleepy Inn quarantine center.
"The needs are obviously with the hospitals, as you've heard. They have staffing shortages, that Guard resources can be deployed for. But we also expect to have needs within our isolation and quarantine facility at the "Sleepy Inn", as we expect to see an increased capacity there," Missoula County Office of Emergency Management Director Adriane Beck explained recently. "And so right now we're planning to deploy the Guard under the direction of an Incident Management Team being fielded out of the Emergency Operations Center."
Additional troops will be sent as requested to St. Peter's in Helena, Billings Clinic, St. James Healthcare in Butte, St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, and Bozeman Health.
“Joining doctors and nurses on the frontlines, the men and women of the Montana National Guard will provide critical supports to our hospitals as their systems are strained,” Gov. Gianforte said.
“While these Guardsmen will help ease the heavy burden our frontline health workers face,” Gov Gianforte continued, “the best long-term solution to this crisis is for Montanans to talk with their doctor or pharmacist and get vaccinated. While we will not mandate them, vaccines are safe, they work, and they can save your life. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus.”