Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. For more information on the virus, please visit the Missoula City-County Health Department’s FAQ page or Missoula County residents may call (406) 258-INFO (4636).

Quick Links

Community Medical Center Hospital & Clinic Patients

Patients with symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), should call the complementary 24/7 Nurse on Call line for symptom evaluation (406) 327-4770. Please call this number in advance of visiting the hospital or any clinic. Patients experiencing respiratory or flu-like symtoms may also check-in online at Community FirstCare (Adults at North Reserve & Children at E. Front Street Downtown Missoula) 

Temporary Visitor Restrictions

Inpatient Units
To limit the spread of infectious illnesses, in-person visits will not be allowed. We encourage patients and their families to communicate through phone and video chat. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for the following:

  • Children admitted to the hospital Pediatric Unit & Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Maternity Units
  • NICU
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care

For these very limited exceptions, all visitors must be 18 years or older. Visitors will also be asked to return home if they exhibit cold or flu-like symptoms, or have a fever.

Outpatient Clinics
Patients who have mobility or cognitive issues being seen in an outpatient clinic may only be accompanied by one adult support person.

Elective / Discretionary Procedures

To meet the acute healthcare needs of our patients, Community Medical Center is working with physicians and medical providers to make thoughtful decisions regarding postponing elective/discretionary inpatient and outpatient surgeries for non-life threatening and non-urgent care at our hospital. This will be reviewed on a day-to-day basis. If the public health department reports community spread of COVID-19 in Western Montana, we will suspend elective/discretionary inpatient and outpatient surgeries for non-life threatening and non-urgent care with cases reviewed daily. This action is directly related to our efforts to effectively respond to COVID-19 care, prevention and supply conservation.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order. Visiting a provider does not necessarily mean you need testing or that you will receive testing. A medical provider will screen you for symptoms and rule out other respiratory ailments, and will test at their own discretion.

What are the qualifications for being tested for COVID-19?

Someone may be a candidate for testing if he or she has:

  • A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case; or
  • A fever and cough or shortness of breath and a history of travel from affected geographic areas; or
  • A fever and cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization with no other source of infection.

Can I pick up or buy a test kit for COVID-19?

No. At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order and are not commercially available to the public.

What do I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19? I want to be tested.

If you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website 

If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you are experiencing mild symptoms you can manage at home in isolation, you do not need to seek medical care or testing.

I believe I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do next?

I’m experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I’m worried.

If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website

Should I get tested?
Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care.

Worsening symptoms – I need to see my provider.

Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call our 24/7 Nurse on Call at (406) 327-4770 to evaluate symptoms or visit one of our Focused Screening Centers at Community FirstCare.

Will I be tested? Your provider will make this determination based on your symptoms, and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Montana DPHHS guidelines.

Emergent symptoms – I am having difficulty breathing.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Will I be tested? Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination based on your symptoms and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Montana DPHHS guidelines.

Where to Go

In order to minimize the risk of exposing others, we are directing patients who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19, or have respiratory or flu-like symptoms, to call their primary care provider or call our free 24/7 Nurse on Call line at (406) 327-4770 for instructions on seeking care. Patients may also check-in online or walk-in to one of our Focused Screening Centers. We are working with our Community Physician Group clinics for appropriate triaging and other area clinics and facilities for similar responses.

Focused Screening Centers

  • FirstCare, North Reserve
    Adults (age 18+)
  • FirstCare, Downtown Missoula (starting Wednesday, March 18)
    Children (newborns – age 17)

Online check-in at CommunityFirstCare.com