Missoula Health officer warns of hospital capacity due to rising COVID-19 cases

Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 06, 2020

Montana has now surpassed 12,000 active COVID-19 cases after health officials announced just under 1,000 new cases Friday morning.

Nearly 850 of those active cases are in Missoula County.

Friday, the Missoula City-County Health Department reported two more COVID-related deaths.

While officials cannot release details about the individuals, they were a man and a woman aged 70 years or older.

To date, 27 people from Missoula County have now passed away due to complications from the virus.

And as of Friday, 43 people, including 23 county residents, are in Missoula's two hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms.

With 842 active coronavirus cases in the county, health officer Ellen Leahy says the surge is straining health care workers and hospitals.

"At the same time demand for hospital staffing goes up in a pandemic. As that curve goes up, we want to make sure we just don't count beds and ventilators. We have to look at staff. If we don't have the healthcare worker staff, in fact all the staff that keeps our hospitals running, then that affects our access to hospitals, not just the number of beds," said Ellen Leahy the Missoula City County Health Officer.

The Montana Department of Health of Human Services weekly hospital capacity report shows 4 of the 10 largest hospitals are in the "red zone" which means they are 90 to 100 percent full.

That includes COVID patients and other hospital needs like surgeries, births, etc.