KALISPELL — Kalispell Regional Healthcare is preparing its alternative care site to begin receiving non-COVID-19 related patients as early as this week.
The facility – which is located on the vacant third floor of Montana Children’s Hospital in Kalispell -- was constructed last spring by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in case of a COVID-19 pandemic escalation.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, KRH officials were warned last month to have the care site ready to serve up to 50 patients by early December as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Doug Nelson says the facility is now ready for operation as soon as they get the green light from state health officials.
“So, we’ve been working hard to do that the last several weeks and we’re ready to go for that this week,” Dr. Nelson said.
He explained the facility will be used for non-COVID-19 patients opening up more acute care hospital space for critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The Alternative Care Site will be primarily staffed by state and federal government officials, according to Dr. Nelson.
“That’s been our biggest problem throughout the pandemic...having enough nurses, enough doctors, enough health care professionals,” he told MTN News.
“The state and federal authorities have supplied that staff to us which has been great, and they’re here on-site and we’re ready to go,” Dr. Nelson added.
He noted the facility is one of just two alternative care sites in Montana and will be used to help hospitals across the state that are reaching critical capacity levels.
“The idea is that our facility would potentially accept patients from around the state of Montana as far away as Eastern Montana,” Dr. Nelson explained.
The alternative care site has the capacity to serve up to 100 patients and will remain in service for as long as the state deems necessary, according to Dr. Nelson.
The facility was fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as through emergency state funds.