Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital entrance sign

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Bozeman Health system is preparing for a hospital surge as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to grow throughout the region. 

A hospital surge means Bozeman Health will have to start using unlicensed beds to treat overflow patients.

At Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital there are 16 positive COVID patients in beds and two COVID patients in beds at the Big Sky Medical Center. 

Overall, the Bozeman Health system has 133 licensed inpatient beds throughout Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and Big Sky Medical Center.

At this time, capacity for critical care beds at the hospital is at 100% with all 20 beds full. Medical unit beds are at 95% capacity, and on surgical all 34 beds are full, but due to understaffing, capacity is listed at 114% for surgical unit beds.

The four beds at Big Sky Medical Center are also at 100% capacity, but they are working on building four additional licensed inpatient beds.

Remaining beds at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital are in the neonatal intensive care unit, labor and deliver and postpartum units.

With capacity reaching its limits, the Bozeman Health system also has 30-40 emergency crisis staff on hand and are coordinating with other hospitals.

They are looking into the use of unlicensed beds, which would include placing patients on procedural, anesthesia and emergency beds.

Though Bozeman Health has not called in for help from the Montana National Guard, they say they are prepared to do so, along with scaling back non-essential staff and a move into the state's crisis standards of care.

At this time, stroke and heart attack trauma patients are still being treated and elective surgeries are being performed. However, Bozeman Health says they are "dangerously close" to not doing elective surgeries.

The message from the hospital system to the public is “get vaccinated.” 

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