GREAT FALLS — In recent weeks, Benefis Health System in Great Falls has seen more COVID-19 patients in need of hospitalization and expects to take in more in the upcoming months.
Rayn Ginnaty, the Chief Nursing Officer and Hospital CEO, said that coronavirus isn’t the only obstacle healthcare workers like herself are working to overcome.
“I think a couple of things are also adding to the challenge. Now there’s forest fires across the state and on the west coast. The smoke in the air is certainly going to add to the challenge - especially people who have allergies or breathing difficulties in the first place. And then we’re certainly entering into flu season. And so between those two things alone and with COVID-19, it is going to be really important for people to remain diligent with things that we know could keep them safe,” Ginnaty said.
Ginnaty explained that while patient intakes have increased, Montana has fared better than other states. In fact, she believes Montana has even been able to learn from other states’ experiences.
“I think we have been lucky in the state of Montana to be able to watch and learn from other states...as they have dealt with the increasing number of Covid cases. We’ve been in communication with lots of local authorities - City-County Health Department - all of those teams coming together to really make the best decisions for the residents in our community,” Ginnaty said.
She said Benefis has been proactive in their approach to the upcoming season and is prepared to take on the challenges that await.
“One of the things that we take a lot of pride in as an organization is really kind of having a proactive plan for how we can deal and make sure we provide the very best care as we see increasing volumes of patients who may need to be in the hospital. And so we have those plans and we’re ready to utilize those as it becomes necessary,” Ginnaty said.
Healthcare workers aren’t the only ones responsible for flattening the curve. Ginnaty said people are encouraged to help by practicing the only protocols known to make a difference: hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing - as doing so ensures healthcare facilities are able to care for the amount of patients within their facility to the best of their ability.
“Across the state, we have great health care facilities. We’re able to take care of patients in certain numbers. And so the better that we do in kind of trying to keep that curve as flat as possible allows us to have everything we need to take care of those patients that require hospitalization when they’re not coming all at once. So if everyone can do their part to keep those numbers down as much as possible, then that just benefits everyone across the state,” Ginnaty said.