We are lucky to have had Gov. Bullock who did a good job of keeping COVID out of Montana early-on when it was spreading around the country.
Now, with loosened rules and mandates, we are beginning to experience more COVID outbreaks that have created problems with ICU availability and staffing at Helena and Billings hospitals. We are also being surrounded by states with even worse problems.
Let's take Idaho for example. Republican Gov. Brad Little described a “heartbreaking” scene at a St. Luke’s ICU: "It was nearly filled with unvaccinated patients, average age 43, who contracted COVID-19 ... all were struggling to breathe ...” He went on to say, "Please choose to receive the vaccine to protect lives, help our exhausted medical staff, keep health care access available to all of us and keep our workforce healthy and keep our kids in school."
And of course, we have all heard about the increased COVID rates in neighboring states of South Dakota and Wyoming. So, we are in fact, being surrounded by COVID.
This sad situation is being repeated in the states like AL, GA, FL, and TX with low vaccination rates and few masking rules. ICU units there are at 90+ percent capacity, and children occupy 25% of those beds. Will Montana be next to add our name to this gruesome list?
Our future is in your hands, Gov. Gianforte. Are you willing to do the simple, proven, common-sense things that will be needed to stem the COVID tide here?