Medical Supplies Arrive At FMDH
County Places Order And Asks Public for Help
April 8, 2020
Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital received a shipment of medical personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to help with the hospital’s efforts in detecting, preventing and possibly fighting COVID-19 in Montana. To date, FMDH has received two shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile through the State of Montana Public Health and Safety Division.
The shipments arrived separately the week of March 30. The first shipment contained one box of large gloves containing 50 pairs; one box of x-large gloves containing 50 pairs; two boxes of surgical masks containing 50 masks per box; 15 gowns; five boxes of small N95 masks; and 20 standard N95 masks. The second shipment, which arrived on April 1, contained 140 N95 masks, 50 surgical masks, one box of large gloves containing 50 pairs, and 15 gowns.
In a statement, hospital CEO Randy Holum said, “FMDH is dealing with unprecedented challenges in our efforts to meet the health and safety needs of our staff and community during this COVID-19 emergency. I am proud and thankful to our staff and our public agency partners at the County and State levels for helping us obtain the resources to fulfill our mission to the community. We are still early in this response and will be leaning on each other as we face the operational situations that seem to change daily. I have great confidence that the support of our staff, community, and agency partners will assure our ability to meet these challenges.”
Speaking during a county teleconference, county Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Seiler said the county had also requested PPE for county health officials, law enforcement and other public workers. That shipment was supposed to include 300 surgical masks, 300 gloves and 48 gowns however will not include sought after N95 masks. The shipment is expected to arrive this week.
Other efforts are being facilitated by the Army Corps of Engineers to identify and assess locations that could be used to establish field expedient hospitals in the event such facilities were needed to treat patients of the novel coronavirus in northeast Montana.
The county DES and health departments have also put out a request for homemade fabric masks from the public as well as any N95 masks that can be spared. Masks are being collected by John Deere implement dealer, C&B Operations, on Highway 2 east of Glasgow. The donations collected there will be delivered to the county and distributed accordingly. Supplies to make homemade masks, such as fabric and elastic cord, can be donated to Peggy Sain at 51 Skylark Road in Glasgow by placing the items in the drop box by the sliding door.
The Center for Disease Control has recommended that individuals wear cloth face coverings while out in public settings where social distancing practices are difficult to maintain such as the grocery store. The health department pointed out on Facebook that the recommendation does not recommend members of the public wear surgical or N95 masks in those settings.
The health department also added in their social media post, “the CDC warns that face coverings should not give anyone a false sense of security! Social distancing and hand washing are still very important protective measures and should be continued.”
Social distancing is the practice of remaining more than six feet from all other persons while the virus is spreading across the nation. According to epidemiologists with the CDC, social distancing, avoiding gatherings of people and limiting time out of the home to essential tasks are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
County Health Officer Dr. Anne Millard has ordered measures across the county to create the required social distancing and limiting gatherings of people through a series of health orders. The first of which, 2020-01, ordered bars and restaurants to drive thru and take out only, closed gyms and yoga studios and limited small brick and mortar stores to 10 people and larger stores (i.e. grocery stores and hardware stores) to 20 people, not including staff.
Health order 2020-02 ordered that all persons arriving in or returning to Valley County for any reason, other than an essential work requirement, must quarantine at home for 14 days. Quarantined individuals are supposed to limit interactions with other individuals and when unable to do so should maintain six feet of separation from others. Order 2020-03 supplemented this order clarifying that the order did not apply to essential workers.
Order 2020-04, which took effect on April 2, restricted any work, planning, assessment or any other improvement activities in the county. If the work relies on work crews from outside Valley County, the health department must be contacted. In order to secure the ability to work the project needs approval from the health department 14 days prior to commencing work.