Medical and Nursing Community of Montana Unites to Urge Vaccination, Masking as COVID-19 Cases Rise Statewide
MONTANA – Montana medical and nursing organizations representing thousands of health care practitioners across the state today united to urge Montanans to protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.
“With cases and hospitalizations increasing, we in the medical and nursing community of Montana want you to know that now is the time to act and step up our game collectively in preventing a worsening wave of COVID-19 here in Montana,” said MMA President Pamela V. Cutler, M.D. “We see what’s happening in other portions of the U.S. Our statewide emergency rooms, businesses, and schools depend on each Montanan to follow the proven prevention methods that we know work – get vaccinated and wear a mask indoors. By working together, we can prepare and slow the spread.”
COVID-19 cases continue to increase statewide, at a rate three times faster than the same period in 2020. From July 1, 2021, to August 17, 2021, average daily cases increased by 6-fold and are projected to more than double in the next two weeks based on current infection rates, according to the Montana Hospital Association.
To help Montanans follow the science with cases rising, the Montana Medical Association, Montana Nurses Association, Montana Academy of Physician Assistants, Montana Hospital Association, Association of Montana Public Health Officers, Montana Academy of Family Physicians, Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Montana College of Physicians, Montana Primary Care Association, Montana Pharmacy Association, Montana Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Montana Chapter of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Montana Association of Pediatric Psychiatrists, Montana Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, Montana Psychiatric Association, Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana, Montana Orthopedic Society, and the Montana Speech-Language and Hearing Association released the following joint statement:
The medical and nursing community of Montana strongly supports the data and science behind the protection and safety of vaccinations and the benefits of masking in indoor public settings with others as part of a layered mitigation strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across Montana this fall. The data shows the current wave has the potential to overwhelm Montana’s health care systems. The science is clear that masks and vaccinations work. They are our best tools in the fight against COVID-19. Following these recommendations will limit the burden of serious health outcomes in our communities and on our health care providers.
Research shows masks will protect you and work to reduce the spread of viruses. They are much more effective when worn by everyone in our communities. They worked for us last fall and we know they will work again.
The same goes for vaccinations. The higher a percentage of our population that receives them, the more we are all protected. In every Montana community, we have adults and kids with chronic illness, immunodeficiencies, and disabilities. Doctors, nurses, and health care team members follow the science, and we encourage your families to do the same to keep all of us safer.
We understand and empathize with the stress this pandemic has had on all our lives. We want to do what is best for our family and those we love. We want to do what is best for our communities. We as your health care community of Montana have come together to ensure you have the best evidence-based health information available, be clear on the science, and communicate what we can do to help each other.
Montana is currently experiencing increasing local cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The vast majority of the people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated. With more than 357 million doses administered in the U.S. and just under 1 million administered in Montana, we know the vaccines are a safe tool to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Given the introduction of the Delta variant and that children under 12 are not yet able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, combined with low teen vaccination rates, masking is especially critical for the prevention of COVID-related outbreaks in our schools. We know the importance of in-person learning, and through prevention measures, we can ensure our kids can stay in the classroom this fall.
We aren’t asking Montanans to disrupt their lives. We follow the science and encourage you to do the same. Your actions taken now will help all of us this fall and keep Montana communities open for work, play, and education. Now is the time to step up our game and act appropriately to keep yourself and your neighbors safe, ensure the ongoing availability of local community health care staff, and our emergency rooms and schools remain open without the effects of widespread disease. Together we can level the curve of the current climb.
DPHHS COVID-19 Dashboard:
CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines:
CDC Guide to Masks:
American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Guidance:
DPHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Resources:
Montana Nurses Association COVID-19 Resources:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists