Health board should reconsider

| November 4, 2020 1:00 AM

I just read the piece about the Flathead County Health Board’s decision to not do anything to mitigate the surge of Covid cases here in the Flathead. Really?

This decision was made in spite of input from Kalispell Regional that they are already near capacity for Covid patients. It flies in the face of the county health officer who stated they are “drowning” in cases, now requiring more than three days to do the contact isolation they try to do in 24 hours.

Dr. Bukacek quoted a mortality rate of .2% and explained that “is a 2 in 10,000 mortality rate.” (My math suggests .2% is actually 2 in 1,000 but why quibble with a 10-fold underestimate?) A more reliable number based on local reality from KRMC CEO Craig Lambrecht noted mortality rates of .5-1%, up to 5 times greater than Dr Bukacek’s assumption. To achieve these relatively good outcomes is requiring 7% of Covid cases to be admitted to the hospital. With rapidly rising cases our hospital will soon be overwhelmed and need to make very tough decisions as to who does or doesn’t get hospitalized.

I would like to suggest that the health board reconvene and reconsider their decision. To avoid a simple repeat decision framed by possibly faulty data, they should be required to spend an hour before the meeting touring the Covid care units at KRMC. Maybe if they saw first hand what Covid looks like to the patients and dedicated and over stressed staff, they might come to a different conclusion.

Dr. Ken McFadden, Whitefish