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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Gov. Gianforte Is Sending National Guard Troops To Six Montana Hospitals

 St. James Health in Butte, MT.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio
St. James Health in Butte, MT.

Gov. Greg Gianforte is sending 70 National Guard troops to hospitals around the state to help health care workers overloaded by COVID patients.

Over the last week the Gianforte administration says it has received formal requests for National Guard assistance from five hospitals and Missoula County.

In a press release, the administration says it’s filling those requests with 70 troops that will assist hospitals with non-clinical work in order to free up overburdened nurses and providers.

The hospitals include St. Peter’s Health in Helena, St. James Healthcare in Butte, Bozeman Health, Missoula County hospitals, Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. Billings Clinic had already received 10 volunteer National Guard troops last week and will receive an additional 10 troops following a second request. Guardsmen will begin arriving at hospitals by this weekend and through next week.

The Gianforte administration is requiring hospitals to make formal requests for National Guard assistance rather than utilizing mass deployments across the state like last year.

The administration expects more hospitals to make requests as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to grow, forcing some hospitals to consider or begin rationing care.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.
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