COVID surge continues in state
Last updated 9/2/2021 at 12:33pm
The delta variant-driven COVID-19 surge continues in the state with numbers also creeping up locally.
With 738 new cases statewide reported on this morning's update on the state online tracking map, two Montana counties are listed with more than 1,000 active cases and another almost there.
The tracking map showed Yellowstone County with 1,016 active cases, 1,004 in Flathead County and 992 in Cascade County.
The map listed 124 new cases in Yellowstone, 112 in Flathead and 100 in Cascade.
Locally, the state and local health departments are listing more than 100 active cases and eight active hospitalizations.
In its update Wednesday, Hill County Health Department reported 14 new confirmed cases with 88 active and six hospitalizations.
Blaine County Health Department Wednesday listed three new cases, brining the active cases to 42 with two active hospitalizations.
The numbers are lower but still creeping up in Chouteau and Liberty counties.
Liberty County Public Health Wednesday listed one new case, bringing it to eight active cases.
The state tracking map listed Chouteau County with two new confirmed cases, bringing it to nine active cases.
And Fort Bellknap and Rocky Boy's Indian reservations, which had implemented strict measures staring last year to reduce the spread of the virus, are again moving up.
The issue is complicated because the reservations are within more than one county, and the numbers are reported to the county where the person who tested positive lives, but due to legal restrictions on releasing personal health information, the reservation numbers are not broken down by county.
The numbers, however, are included in the county numbers but not listed as which are from a reservation and which are not.
Rocky Boy Wednesday reported four new cases with 36 active.
Fort Belknap reported four new cases with 22 active.
The numbers are impacting schools as well.
CJI Schools in Chester delayed its original opening date due to COVID-19, and Havre Public Schools has been reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19 since it opened Sept. 24.
The surge of COVID-19 cases has included a larger number of children needing to be hospitalized, with agencies reporting children being hospitalized for the disease in record numbers
The surge also is primarily impacting the unvaccinated. While breakthrough cases are occurring, the majority are in unvaccinated and the symptoms typically are milder in people who are vaccinated.
Studies also indicate that the delta variant, is more likely to be spread by vaccinated people than previous variants were, leading to the recommendation that all people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks when indoors in public areas to reduce the spread of the virus.
But vaccinated people still are less likely than unvaccinated people to spread even the delta variant.
During this surge, health officials have continued their message basically from the start of the pandemic.
People should stay home if they don't feel well, the officials say, should regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap or with a hand sanitizer including at least 60 percent alcohol, should regularly wash and sanitize surfaces, should wear a mask when in indoor public spaces, and anyone who can should get vaccinated.
In Hill County, vaccinations are available through Bullhook Community Health Center, 406-395-4305; the Hill County Health Department, 406-400-2415; Northern Montana Health Care's Specialty Medical Center at 406-265-7831 or it's Family Medical Center at 406-265-5408; Western Drug Pharmacy, 406-265-9601; Gary & Leo's Pharmacy, which takes walk-ins; Walmart; and the Rocky Boy Health Center, 406-395-1655.
Vaccinations are available in Blaine County through Blaine County Health Department, 406-357-2345, and Fort Belknap Health Center, 406-353-3219.
Vaccine is available in Chouteau County at the Chouteau County Health Department, 406-622-3771, and Big Sandy Pharmacy at 406-378-5588.
People can call Liberty County Health Department at 406-759-5517 to schedule a vaccination.