Kalispell Regional Medical Center prepares for a potential COVID-19 spike

Posted at 2:23 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 16:34:47-04

KALISPELL — Kalispell Regional Hospital is expressing concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases and their number of beds.

Dr. Doug Nelson with Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC) told MTN News that their COVID unit has 12 beds dedicated to coronavirus patients.

"We've been concerned, as our numbers have risen to as many as ten patients where do we go next for our COVID patients?" asked Dr. Nelson

With the rise in COVID cases in the Flathead Valley Dr. Nelson says that the hospital is wondering what to do next.

He explained that KRMC has carefully thought through each step, including keeping the COVID unit isolated from the rest of the hospital.

"We've taken extra efforts to actually make the entire unit a negative pressure room," he said "So, that there's not airflow coming from the COVID unit to other clinical areas. It's a zip in through an impermeable barrier type of unit. We very much restrict who can go in there. And health care workers have to wear full personal protective equipment."

Dr. Nelson told MTN News that COVID patients at Kalispell Regional Medical Center are from the Flathead Valley as well as other counties and the hospital has a plan if an outbreak happens.

If an outbreak happens he explained that different floors of the hospital will be dedicated for COVID-19 patients ranging from slight symptoms to critical. There would be over 20 beds available for those with coronavirus.

He added that the third floor of Montana Children's hospital was also recently renovated to house overflow non-COVID-19 patients.

And in anticipation of another spike, Dr. Nelson told MTN that the hospital is in the process of hiring traveling nurses.

"Bringing in a relatively small number of traveling nurses now, but with the ability to scale up again, if we have another significant outbreak here and more patients to take care of," said. Dr. Nelson.

Dr. Nelson reminds people to slow the spread of coronavirus by frequently sanitizing their hands, wearing a mask and socially distancing.