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Nurse: Some Billings patients describe COVID-19 as 'worst flu' and 'worst cold' they've ever had

Posted at 4:05 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 18:05:46-04

Health officials in Billings are giving a better understand of what those sickened with COVID-19 go through as they struggle to recover from this virus.

Nancy Iversen, a nurse and the director of patient safety at Bilings Clinic, spoke about how her patients in Billings are faring with the virus.

”They would say it’s a combination of the worst cold and worst influenza they’ve ever had,” she said. "And when I talk to people on the phone they sound like they have a bad cold and they sound like its in their chest.”

She says the virus affects the lungs and people’s ability to get oxygen. A cough can be prolonged because of the damage done by the virus.

"Many patients are able to go home. They’re very tired. That's another complaint we’re seeing, is they’re very tired," said Iversen.

Health experts with Billings Clinic also say people in our community are experiencing a mild to moderate version of the disease, meaning many don’t need hospitalization.

But symptoms can change, according to experts.

“What we’ve learned with COVID-19 is that for many people, their symptoms can worsen and their condition can progress that second or third week," she said.

Just this week, the Unified Health Command announce that two Billings patients were sent home after a stay at the city's two hospitals after battling complications.

Recently, a Billings Clinic patient returned home after being hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.

Another patient at St Vincent Healthcare also recently went home after spending a week in the hospital.

Those two patients mentioned in her story are among the 36 Montanans who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak.