Two more people tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Madison County over the weekend. As of the April 7, there are 319 confirmed cases of the virus in Montana. Eight Madison County residents have contracted the virus. A ninth person tested positive in a Madison County facility but is a resident to a neighboring county. The ninth individual’s case has been transferred to that county, according to the Madison County Public Health Department.

Fifty-seven Montanans have recovered from the virus and six have died as of April 27. As the country gets a grip on the virus, community social distancing remains an important and effective way of slowing the spread.


Madison County’s two critical access hospitals are open and prepared to treat patients’ medical needs while battling the novel coronavirus.

The Ruby Valley Medical Center and the Madison Valley Medical Centers have taken precautions to significantly limit patients’ chances of contacting the virus in their facilities.

Already rigorous cleaning routines have been heightened. All incoming patients are screened. It is safe to get needed medical attention, other than for the coronavirus, in Madison County’s critical access hospitals.

“It’s important to encourage people to seek help if the need it,” Madison Valley Medical Center Chief of Staff Maura Davenport said.

Upon entering MVMC, individuals are screened and separated into different rooms based on their circumstance. Respiratory concerned patients are given a mask and separated from potentially transmitting the virus to another.

MVMC doctors have been doing more home visits during the pandemic. The hospital has increased telemedicine, treating patients on Facetime.

“We get a lot of information by looking at someone,” Davenport said.

RVMC screens people outside its doors. If conducting a COVID-19 test, a physician can swab the individual outside or from the car. That patient is directed to return and quarantine at home until the test results are back.

Patients who need hospitalization have options of receiving medical care. Several variables determine where one will be hospitalized. Each Madison County hospital has the ability to safely hospitalize between one and four patients in a negative pressure room. An individual with a server case of the coronavirus will be transferred to a larger hospital in the area. MVMC and RVMC have patient transferring contracts with larger facilities, but all the hospitals in the state are working together during the pandemic.

A MVMC staff member tested positive for the coronavirus March 30. All employees and community members who had close contact with the staff member test negative.

Both hospitals have required their staff to wear N-95 masks at all times. MVMC and RVMC both reported that there is not a shortage of N-95 masks in their hospitals. RVMC CEO Landon Dybdal said that they will need more simple masks in the near future. The community has begun to make cloth masks that work as simple masks to make up for any shortage.

MVMC and RVMC have responded to the pandemic according to the Control Center of Disease and Prevention guidelines.

“When we come out of this thing,” MVMC CEO Allen Rohrback said. “We’ll be a better organization.”

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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