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Bozeman Health, Billings Clinic Bozeman, Community Health Partners, and Gallatin City-County Health Department Support Area Schools Mask Requirement

Corporate news | Friday, August 27, 2021

Contact: Lauren Brendel, M.S.

Bozeman Health, Billings Clinic Bozeman, Community Health Partners, and Gallatin City-County Health Department are committed to the health and well-being of the communities we have the honor of serving. Leaders, physicians, providers, and healthcare workers within our respective organizations strongly support the recent decisions of Montana State University, Bozeman School District, and all local schools that require masks of school faculty and staff, students, and visitors.

The last year has made it clear that keeping kids in school is critical for their mental health and academic success. We must limit the spread of COVID-19 to minimize school disruptions from quarantine and illness. Masks are one of the most effective strategies we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Decreasing the spread of COVID-19 is especially important for our children and community members who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19. We know that the vaccine significantly decreases COVID-19 transmission rates and nearly eliminates serious disease and death. Unfortunately, for the youngest members of our community, immunizations are not yet an option. Masks are their best defense.

Since the highly contagious Delta variant has arrived in our community, there has been a sharp escalation in the number of COVID-19 positive inpatients at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and Big Sky Medical Center. In the past month, 28 of 39 of all hospitalized patients confirmed positive for COVID-19 have been unvaccinated. Only one person admitted to the intensive care unit at Deaconess Hospital in the past month was known to be fully vaccinated.

Additionally, across the country we are seeing a significant increase in the number of children with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital – in some places, more than at any other point in the pandemic.

We want to protect our kids and keep them in school. We applaud the decisions made by Montana State University, Bozeman School District, and all area schools that require masks in school. Immunization and masking helps to ensure the health and well-being of our students, educators, their families and the wider community. We encourage all to mask, to practice hand hygiene, to stay home when sick, and to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bozeman Health

John Hill, MBA
President and CEO

Diane Patterson, MN, MPH, RN
Chief Nursing Officer

Mark Williams, MD
Chief Physician Officer

Kathryn Bertany, MD
President, Bozeman Health Hospitals

Douglas Hartnett, MD
Chief Quality & Safety Officer

Kristen Day, MD
Medical Officer, GCCHD

Kallie Kujawa, MN, RN
Incident Command Lead

David Crites, MD
Chief of Medical Staff

Billings Clinic

Scott Ellner, DO

Clint Seger, MD
Regional Chief Medical Officer

Michelle Pierson, MD
Interim Chief Medical Officer

Sam Sillitti, MD
Bozeman Physician Chief

Community Health Partners

Lander Cooney, MS

Buck Taylor, MPH
Director, Community Development and Administration

Gallatin City-County Health Department

Lori Christenson, MPH
Public Health Officer

Anna Snyder, MSN, RN
Director of Human Services

Jill Ellison, RN
Program Manager, Communicable Disease, Immunization