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Army Sgt. Willy Nesmith with the 631st Chemical Company, from Cut Bank, takes the temperature of Army Spc. Trevor Dodson with the 1-189th GSAB, from Shelby, as a part of daily personal wellness verification at the Amtrak Train Station in Shelby on Friday, April 3. Seventy-three Montana Army and Air National Guard men and women have been activated for State Active Duty by Governor Steve Bullock to screen 17 locations around the state, including the Amtrak station in Shelby, in an effort to flatten the curve in Montana.

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Toole County, so does the help from other agencies. The National Guard is currently stationed at the train depot, screening passengers getting off of Amtrak. That is not the only place the soldiers are working to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Their efforts are also being put forth at the Heritage Center and Marias Medical Center (MMC).

State Senator Llew Jones shared the following information on Sunday, April 5. The update included information from Bob Sandman, the incident commander that is working with Kalispell Regional Medical Center, Toole County, Glacier County and Pondera County.

“Great Falls Medical and Kalispell Medical are working to develop a labor pool to address critical shortages, the Incident Command team will take direct control of the labor pool this week,” reported Jones.

“The National Guard began work Monday morning to help with staff shortage at the Heritage Center and are also in the process of defining the process for providing ambulance services for COVID transport from the region to Great Falls or Kalispell, if needed,” according to Jones’ update.

“A rapid response team is being developed to include telehealth and addressing critical nursing care. Flying in nurses to surge areas to deal with the critical nursing component was to start Monday. ”

Jones pointed out, “Although the number of cases continue to climb in number, Toole County is not fighting this battle alone. The assistance from other medical entities, the surrounding communities and the National Guard, in conjunction with our local health officials and medical personnel, is one to be supported and grateful for.”

Mayor Gary McDermott encourages all citizens to continue following guidelines and shared that while the lobby is closed, City of Shelby employees are still working and providing services to the community, along with some financial assistance for those in need.

“I want to express that I am praying for the citizens of Shelby, the state and the nation,” said Mayor McDermott. “We will get through this, with God’s guidance, together. The City of Shelby does have assistance funding to help those that need it with their water bills and some disaster funding available. Please reach out if you are having a hard time and need help. The lobby is closed, but we are here and providing services.”

The Toole County Health Department asks that everyone continue to do their part and follow the Governor’s directive and maintain social distance, practice proper hand hygiene and stay at home if you have any symptoms related to COVID-19, such as cough, fever, sore throat or fatigue.  

Toole County Commissioners also urge everyone to be safe and follow the directive.

“The Toole County Commissioners  greatly appreciate all the help everyone has been graciously giving to Toole County in the epidemic of the COVID-19,” said Commissioner Joe Pehan. “We request everyone to continue to  ‘Shelter in Place’ and only go out when you need to. We recommend you do whatever the Toole County Health Nurse recommends for the people in Toole County to be safe. We have continually been working with the State and Federal government to get the available resources we need to get through this. Be safe!”

 For more information, visit the TCHD Facebook page or contact the newly established Toole County Joint Information Center (JIC) email at covid19@toolecountymt.gov or call (406) 424-8309.

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