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Local Doctor: Montana Can Weather COVID-19 Storm Better Than Other States; Stay Home

COVID-19 continues to be at the forefront of our current health battles and plans. We have one documented case of COVID-19 in Havre, but almost assuredly there are more.

We still do not have the testing capabilities to test everyone with symptoms. Our Flu Clinic continues to provide services for people with acute illnesses and provide appropriate screening for COVID-19. This allows semi-normal operations for our ambulatory clinics.

We continue to manage and see those who are in need of an in-person visit, but are also ramping up our telemedicine services in some clinics.

We can look at some parts of the U.S. and see what we are trying to prevent. Montana has a unique opportunity to clamp down and limit our exposure to this disaster. Our vast space and lack of population density gives us an advantage that we must utilize. Abiding by both the social distancing and the shelter-in-place directives from the governor, we might see that Montana will weather this storm better than other states.

We at Northern Montana Health Care would like to assure you that our doors will always stay open. We will show up to work every day. We are prepared to take care of you when it is needed. By obeying the shelter-in-place order, you are helping your community stay safe and helping your medical providers handle COVID-19.

Our community and nation have suffered with this disaster. Some more than others. Our churches are closing (although worship continues); our children are staying home from school (although learning continues); we are physically disconnected from friends and family (but our relationships will survive). Our small business owners have temporarily shuttered their doors (we must and will support them).

In these uncertain times, we as a community can provide certainty. We can be certain that we look after our neighbors. We can be certain that our elderly and those in need have support. We can be certain we act and serve with respect and integrity. We can be certain that nothing breaks the spirit of our town and community. We can be certain that if we look out for each other…

We will be OK.

We very much appreciate the support our community has provided us. We appreciate your willingness to comply with social distancing to help in this fight.

As we enter a very crucial 2-week period, what we ask is simple: STAY HOME. This must be taken seriously as this disaster is on our doorstep and our actions now will determine whether we have a fighting chance to control COVID-19.

Kevin Harada, MD, Internal Medicine Chief of Staff, Northern Montana Health Care (406) 262-7778
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