On Monday’s Talk Back show, three medical professionals from Missoula Community Medical Center shared their expertise about the COVID 19 pandemic, and the hospital’s preparations to resume providing elective surgeries and no emergency procedures.

Medical Staff President Dr. Michael Stewart said one of the newer complications with the COVID 19 virus is a symptom called ‘silent hypoxia’.

“Some of these patients have significantly diminished oxygen saturation, but they are asymptomatic until they reach a certain threshold,” said Dr. Stewart. “We are screening for all of these things and we’ve been trying to educate as has the entire medical community across the country.”

Emergency Department physician Dr. Aaron Feist added to what Dr. Stewart had to say.

“It can manifest for over a few days where you don’t feel any symptoms and then all of a sudden, like Dr. Stewart was saying, you may develop a dry cough, a runny nose, sore throat or body aches and it’s hard to know,” said. Dr. Feist. “Do you have coronavirus, is this influenza, the common cold or flu, because not everybody is presenting with the same symptoms.”

Dr. Stewart added more to the complicated nature of this disease.

“In addition to what the disease itself does, the body creates a really significant response to this,” he said. “Some of the problems we’re seeing, particularly in the lungs is almost an excessive immune response to this which is causing tissue damage. We see people going from almost asymptomatic to needing some ventilatory things very rapidly.”

Dr’s. Stewart and Feist appeared with Associated Chief of Nursing Hollie Nagel and Communications Director Megan Chondra on the Talk Back Program.