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70 more Montana National Guard members authorized for hospitals statewide to fight COVID surge

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Posted at 3:19 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 10:45:29-04

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Tuesday he's sending 70 more Montana National Guard members to six hospitals statewide to help with their COVID-19 response.

The state received six formal requests from hospitals and granted all of them. Here's the breakdown:

  • 10 Guard to St. Peter's Health in Helena (requested Sept. 15)
  • 10 Guard to Billings Clinic (requested Sept. 15.) Billings Clinic already has 10 Guard members at the hospital.
  • 6 Guard to St. James Healthcare in Butte (requested Sept. 15)
  • 10 Guard to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings (requested Sept. 17
  • 24 Guard to Missoula County (requested Sept. 17)
  • 10 Guard to Bozeman Health (requested Sept. 20)

The Guard members will support staffing with non-medical ICU assistance, environmental services, patient data entry, and COVID testing, according to the governor's office.

In addition to the 10 Guard members at Billings Clinic, another seven are at the state lab.

The state is working with and anticipates additional formal requests for Guard resources from several other hospitals. At the direction of the governor, all hospitals have received a COVID-19 response resource guide, which includes step-by-step instructions on how to submit a formal request for Guard resources.

The governor’s office will continue to provide resources to hospitals to help them secure necessary staffing and proactively and directly collaborate with hospitals to help address needs as they arise.

At the governor’s direction, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services is assisting hospitals in the process of securing full reimbursements from FEMA for their COVID-19 staffing needs.

Montana reported 1,181 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and has a total of 9,976 active cases in the state, according to the state's COVID-19 database.

The number of people currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 is 377, an increase of 19 since Monday. Several hospitals across the state have reported operating above capacity.

Montana is not the only state deploying National Guard troops to help hospitals. Other states include Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Kentucky, and Tennessee.