NewsGreat Falls News


Benefis gets federal help to deal with COVID surge

Benefis Health System hospital in Great Falls
Kaci Husted
Benefis Health System COVID hospitalizations as of November 8, 2021
Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 10:44:20-05

GREAT FALLS — Benefis Health System in Great Falls is getting some additional help dealing with the recent surge in COVID cases, thanks to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The hospital announced on Thursday that 28 members of the department’s National Disaster Medical System are now at the hospital.

Benefis spokesperson Kaci Husted said, “My understanding is that the state of Montana was reached out to to see if we had a need and then the state, in turn, reached out to various hospitals across Montana who responded that, yes, we did have a need for resources like this if they were to come available.”

Kaci Husted
Kaci Husted of Benefis Health System

The 28-person federal team includes physicians, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, a respiratory therapist, and safety, logistics, and administrative support specialists.

The team is expected to serve at Benefis for 14 days.

"Given how high our census is, we're happy to have any help we can get. These resources are much appreciated and much needed right now,” said Husted.

Here is information from Benefis regarding COVID patients that was shared on Monday, November 8, 2021:

Benefis Health System COVID hospitalizations as of November 8, 2021

On November 15, a team from the Department of Defense is expected to arrive for 30 days to help Benefis.

And more than 20 federal workers in two teams have arrived at Billings Clinic to help the hospital deal with that area's COVID surge. An eight-person group of U.S. Public Health Service nurses arrived at the hospital on Friday, November 5, and is now helping care for patients, according to the clinic.

The team is helping with COVID duties, including testing, providing monoclonal antibody treatment, administering COVID vaccinations, and relieving and assisting the hospital's COVID testing unit and others.

Then, on Tuesday, a second team of about 20 U.S. Navy medical personnel, including doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists, arrived to help with patient care.

Both teams are expected to remain at Billings Clinic for 30 days.

As of Tuesday, November 9, there were 114 people hospitalized in the two Billings hospitals with COVID, according to RiverStone Health, the county's public health department.

Of those, 35 were in intensive care, and 21 were on ventilators, according to RiverStone. Of those hospitalized, 94 were not vaccinated against COVID, while 20 were fully vaccinated.