CCHD, health providers asking for help to lessen strain on healthcare facilities

The Cascade County City-County Health Department said in a Jan. 11 release that over the past several weeks, care providers in the county have been reporting “significant strain” with an increasing number of respiratory illness cases being compounded by staffing shortages due to illness.

All GFPS schools going remote due to COVID Jan. 11-17

To preserve staff time, testing and treatment resources, CCHD and community partners are asking:

  • If you have mild respiratory illness symptoms, or if you have no symptoms but desire COVID-19 testing due to an exposure to an infected person, then you are strongly encouraged to utilize the free drive-through PCR testing offered by Alluvion Health at the Montana Expopark. Testing is conducted outside the Family Living Center Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Use the 6th Street Northwest entrance. Be advised that wait times for testing may be extensive. Following testing, you should stay home to await the results and treat your symptoms by getting plenty of rest and hydration and taking acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or another fever reducer. Those with no symptoms or mild symptoms may also seek testing at local pharmacies.
  • If you have severe symptoms, we advise you to seek testing and care at a walk-in clinic or hospital. Those with no symptoms or only very mild symptoms are asked not to seek medical treatment at a clinic or hospital unless so advised by a healthcare provider or the symptoms become more severe. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recommend seeking medical care immediately if you experience any of the following:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds

This is not a list of all possible symptoms. Call your medical provider if you develop other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. If you must seek medical attention, please call ahead to your provider, if possible. Be advised that the most severe illnesses may be given priority for immediate treatment, and there may be extensive wait times to be seen, according to CCHD.

Cascade County seeing slight uptick in COVID cases

As of Jan. 11, there were 11 COVID patients hospitalized at Benefis Health System and six of them were vaccinated. One unvaccinated COVID patient was on a ventilator, according to the hospital.

“We strongly urge all County residents to continue to practice the preventative measures that have been recommended throughout the past two years: practice good handwashing hygiene, limit your contact with others outside your immediate family/social group, socially distance when you must be around others, and wear a mask in public. If you are feeling sick, get tested and then stay home,” according to CCHD.

The Montana Crisis Recovery program provides outreach to Montana communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including by providing free counseling to those experiencing mental health impacts. Crisis counseling is available both to affected healthcare workers and the general public. Call 1-877-503-0833 if you would like to speak with a counselor. Counselors are available Monday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until February 15.