Hill County sees surge of 63 new COVID cases Friday
Numbers growing in region, state and nation
Last updated 1/17/2022 at 12:18pm
With COVID-19 numbers exploding in Montana, the number of new cases in this part of the state saw a major jump last Friday.
In its update released Friday evening, Hill County Health Department reported 63 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, the largest one-day increase to date, with one person hospitalized.
"Locally, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases that are associated with people who have attended social gatherings within the last two weeks," Health Department Director and Hill County Health Officer Kim Berg said in a release Friday. "Any size social gathering can provide a situation where COVID-19 and other illnesses could spread. We are advising our community members to watch for signs and symptoms of illness. If you do become symptomatic please call your primary care provider or any other testing location to schedule yourself a test. If you are not able to receive a test at this time for any reason, please stay home until you are 48 hours symptom free."
Berg's release included locations in Hill County where people can get tested, which are:
Northern Montana Healthcare Flu Clinic, 406-262-1570, or Family Medical Center, 406-265-5408;
Bullhook Community Health Center, 406-395-6941;
Gary and Leo's Pharmacy, 406-265-1229;
Montana State University-Northern, staff/students/household members only, 406-265-3599;
Havre Public Schools, staff/students/household members only, 406-390-2210;
St. Judes Thaddeus School, staff/students/household members only, 406-265-4613;
North Star Schools staff/students/household members only, for appointments at the junior/senior high school in Rudyard, 406-355-4460 or 406-355-4481, for appointments at the elementary school in Gildford, Call 406-376-3183, no appointments necessary Mondays from 7:30-9 a.m. in Rudyard only. Testing takes place outside the doors located near the locker rooms in the back of the building, and
Rocky Boy Health Center - Anyone who is eligible to receive services at Rocky Boy Health Center, or community members that live or work on the reservation, 406-355-4460 or 406-355-4481
Testing availability is dependent on supplies and staffing and may change as situations do.
Blaine County's release listed 16 new cases Friday.
Current numbers for Chouteau and Liberty counties were not posted.
And numbers are climbing in the state and in the nation, for hospitalizations and deaths as well as new cases.
In Montana, the seven-day average for number of new cases hit 1,316 Friday, up from 293 Dec. 31. The state saw 10 new deaths Friday, with a seven-day average of four a day, up from one Dec. 31.
The seven-day average for new cases in the nation Friday hit 798,335, up from 393, 977 Dec. 31, while new deaths hit 1,784 Friday, up from 1,151 Dec. 31.
Havre Public Schools also continues to see an increase in cases. A release issued by Superintendent Craig Mueller Friday said 17 new cases were reported in the district Friday, bringing the total for last week to 31 new cases.
Sunnyside Intermediate School went to online classes last week due to staffing shortages, although Mueller said the absences were due to a variety of reasons, not just COVID-19 cases.
St. Jude Thaddeus School also closed last week, with 40 percent of its students missing both Monday and Tuesday classes. Principal Katie Kopp also said the absences were due to a variety of illnesses and said Tuesday she had not received confirmation that any were due to COVID.
Hays-Lodge Pole Schools also closed classrooms last week,
Hays-Lodge Pole Schools website said that due to contact tracing all unvaccinated kindergarten, first, seventh and eighth graders were asked not to return to school until Jan. 24. People were asked to contact the school Tuesday morning.
The message from public health on the national-, state- and local-level has remained the same for the past year. Vaccination is the best way for people to protect themselves and their loved ones.
The vaccines for COVID-19 have remained effective at preventing hospitalization and death throughout the pandemic and the rollout of boosters for the vaccines provide an extra layer of protection that drastically reduces the chances of people getting seriously ill.
Aside from vaccination, much of the same procedures are still recommended to slow the spread of the virus, including omicron. Wearing masks while in public areas is still a key way to slow the spread of - and reduce the chance of contracting - the virus, with recommended masks still effective at reducing the spread of the variants of the virus, including omicron.
Avoiding being in large groups of people outside of a person's household when possible also will reduce the chance of contracting the virus, as will regular handwashing and people covering their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow.
In Hill County, vaccinations and booster shots 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 its 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 406-395-4486.
The Blaine County Health Department, 406-357-2345, and the Fort Belknap Health Center, public health nurse 406-353-3250 and pharmacy at 406-353-3104, can schedule vaccinations and booster shots.
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.