Two more Hill County deaths, Blaine County sets new record of daily COVID-19 cases confirmed in the county at 20
Follows first Blaine County death reported Friday
Last updated 10/11/2020 at 1:59pm
Editor’s note: This version includes the Sunday morning updates to the state COVID-19 response tracking map and includes updated versions of parts of a story posted Saturday on this website.
Hill County has reported two new COVID-19-related deaths, along with a new record daily total of cases being reported in Blaine County.
Hill County Health Department reported the two COVID-19-related deaths were confirmed Saturday, and 23 new cases of the illness were confirmed in the county.
The record daily total of new cases in Hill County was hit Thursday with 34 cases confirmed that evening.
The new deaths bring the Hill County total to seven COVID-19-related deaths. Two cases are reported hospitalized. The county’s total is at 356 cases since the emergency was declared in March, with 149 active cases.
Blaine County Health Department, which reported Friday evening the first COVID-19-related death in the county, reported Saturday evening 20 new cases confirmed. That is one more than its former highest daily total, 19 confirmations reported Tuesday.
Blaine County reports 91 active cases with four hospitalizations and 141 total cases confirmed since the pandemic started.
The state COVID-19 response tracking map reported today one new case for Liberty County confirmed Saturday with 5 active cases and a total of 26 cases listed for the county.
The map listed no new cases in Chouteau County with 14 active and a total of 47 cases in that county.
Rocky Boy Health Center reported Saturday evening 13 new cases confirmed there, which are included in either the Chouteau County or Hill County totals. The health center reported a total of 63 active cases confirmed there, with 53 of the active cases residing on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.
The state map, which is updated about 10 a.m. each day, listed today a daily total of newly confirmed cases in the state at 585. It reported 721 new cases Saturday, just edging out the record number previously reported, 715 new cases reported Friday.
The state map’s Sunday update listed 7,131 active cases, 286 active hospitalizations, 210 deaths and a total of 18,702 cases in Montana since the first were reported March 14.
The number of confirmed cases has skyrocketed since the state went into its phased reopening plan, with Phase 2 starting in June.
The state went into a lockdown by the end of March, helping keep numbers of new cases and deaths among the lowest in the nation.
This part of the state stayed at two cases confirmed in March, one in Hill County and one in Liberty County, to the start of July, with no new cases confirmed in April, May or June.
The state went into Phase 1 of its reopening in May. May 1, the state reported 453 total cases confirmed with 16 COVID-19-related deaths, with no new cases confirmed in the May 1 update.
By June 1, the state had confirmed 519 total cases with 41 active cases, two active hospitalizations and 17 deaths by that date and four new cases confirmed.
By July 1, one month into Phase 2 of the reopening, the state number of confirmed cases had nearly doubled to 1,019 and the daily number skyrocketed, with 50 new cases confirmed July 1 and 14 active hospitalizations and 22 deaths reported.
The first new cases in Blaine, Chouteau, Hill and Liberty counties were confirmed shortly after that, with Hill County confirming six new cases July 4.
By the start of August, the state was reporting more than 4,200 cases in Montana with 60 new cases and a total of 64 deaths reported Aug. 3.
By Sept. 1, with some schools in the region fully opening, others using a blended plan and others staying on distanced learning only, the state reported a total of 7,509 cases with 93 new cases reported that day, 140 active hospitalizations and 105 deaths, including two in Hill County.
The local numbers also had surged, with Hill County at 88 total cases, Blaine at 15, Chouteau at 11 and Liberty at six.
The new cases and deaths continue to grow, from Hill County’s 88 total cases reported Sept. 1 to Saturday evening’s 356, from the 15 in Blaine to Saturday’s 91, from 11 in Chouteau to 47, and from the six in Liberty to 26 this morning.
And the increases in the state from Sept. 1 to today are in the thousands. The state grew from 7,509 total cases to 18,702 and from 1,945 active cases to 7,131 active cases. The number of deaths grew from 105 to 210, from and from 140 active hospitalizations to 286.
Cases in the schools
Havre Public Schools announced Friday evening that a person associated with the District had tested positive for COVID-19, with the positive test confirmed Friday evening, the latest in several cases first reported Sept. 20.
Cases also have been confirmed in the Box Elder and Harlem school districts, leading those districts to return to distanced learning.
Rocky Boy’s school district, in Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation that is going back into lockdown this evening, delayed its plan to switch from distanced-only learning to partial in-school instruction until at least Oct. 30.
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation went into a full shut down mode Oct ,. 2, and the Harlem school board in a special meeting Monday will consider its activities schedule at the request of the Fort Belknap Indian Community.
The Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting Friday before the new case in the Havre district was confirmed, a meeting in which the board voted to continue with the hybrid-blended model the district now is using for teaching through next week. In that model, the students are split into two groups, each attending in-school classes two days and having one day for distanced learning only.
The schools' operations will again be reviewed during the board's regular meeting Tuesday evening.
The person in the Havre schools last had contact with other people in the school district at Sunnyside nItermediate School Monday, Oct. 5, the release said, and the person has not been at the school since then.
"Havre Public Schools Nurse Jeri Erickson and the Hill County Health Department continue the arduous task of contact tracing," the release said.
The release said any person in the district suspected of being exposed will be contacted by the county health department to determine a safe and appropriate course of action. It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill seek out their medical provider for specific instructions, the release said.
The release said the district is in contact with the county health department and reviewing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to complete cleaning the school and other related facilities.
Other steps taken by the district include the continuation of social and physical distancing, the use of face coverings and frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing, the release said. People can contact Interim Superintendent Craig Mueller for details about these measures.
School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide additional information if and when it becomes available, the release said.
Hill County Board of Health looking at restrictions
The Hill County Board of Health said during its COVID-19 update meeting Friday that it was looking at making some changes on restrictions to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The board conducted an online survey of county residents on what they thought should be done and said it would be reviewing those suggestions and referring to recommendations including from the state health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More and more businesses in Havre are temporarily closing due to the pandemic, with several already re-opened.
See more on business closures in Monday's edition of the Havre Daily News.