More COVID-related deaths confirmed as new-case numbers drop
Illness delays premiere of 'The Harvest'
Last updated 3/1/2022 at 11:37am
Although the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to drop locally and in the state, the number of COVID-19-related deaths continues to move upward.
Deaths often occur weeks or even months after the cases are confirmed. Health agencies list the date the death was reported rather than when it occurred.
In the last week, COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in Blaine, Hill and Liberty counties.
County totals of COVID-19-related deaths are 72 in Hill, 32 in Blaine, 14 in Chouteau and four in Liberty.
Since the omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 was confirmed in this area in the end of December and beginning of January, that is five new deaths in Chouteau County, one in Hill, three in Blaine and two in Liberty.
The state has seen 281 deaths since Jan. 3, bringing that total to 3,189.
And although the number of new cases confirmed each day has dropped, COVID-19 and other illnesses in the area still are impacting businesses, local events and entertainment.
Hill County reported 10 new cases confirmed from Saturday through Monday, Blaine reported 17 for that period and the state this morning reported two new cases in each of Chouteau and Liberty counties.
Since the omicron surge hit this area, from Jan. 3 on, Hill County has seen 1,234 new cases, Blaine 826, Chouteau 174 and Liberty 122.
Montana Actors' Theatre, which had to delay production of "Mamma Mia!" for a year-and-a-half until last fall then delay its production of "Monty Python's Spamalot" last month due to COVID-19, is again delaying a production, although Executive Artistic Director Jay Pyette said none of the illness is confirmed to be COVID, with some ill members testing negative so far.
MAT Artistic Director Grant Olson said in a release this morning that its production of "The Harvest," written by Pyette, is being pushed back a week.
Olson said when the troupe began the 2021-22 season it knew some disruptions or alterations to maintain the safety of its volunteers and audience.
"For the most part those disruptions have been minimal, and we have been able to offer our season with a few alterations," Olson said in the release. "However, the ripple effect from delaying 'Spamalot' in January due to an outbreak of COVID also diminished our ability to maintain a full rehearsal schedule for 'The Harvest.' Additionally, a recent bout of (gastro-intestinal) illness within the cast of 'The Harvest' further reduced the ability for the cast to meet safely.
"Because MAT is committed to producing theater at the highest possible quality, the artistic staff made the decision to delay the opening of 'The Harvest' by one week in order to maintain our commitment to delivering an outstanding theater experience to the audiences of Havre and the Hi-Line," he said.
Olson said the troupe decided not to extend the run of the show, "so the only dates to catch this amazing production will be March 10-12 and 17-19."
He said the troupe will be in touch with people who already purchased tickets for this weekend to arrange an alternative date or a refund.
Olson added that the delay will most likely affect the remainder of MAT's 2021-2022 season, so people should check at http://www.mtactors.com or on the troupe's Facebook page for more information.
"Thank you so much for your patience as we navigate producing the highest possible quality of theater here in northern Montana during these strange times," he said.