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Blaine County reports two more COVID-related deaths

Blaine County Health Department Wednesday reported two more COVID-19-related deaths.

The county had a surge in COVID-19-reported cases in the past few months, and also reported another COVID-19-related death May 11.

The deaths bring Blaine County’s total COVID-19-related deaths since the emergency was declared in March 2020 to 37.

Hill County Health Department reports it was made aware of the latest COVID-19-related death in the county May 17.

Wednesday’s release said no new cases were confirmed from May 13 to May 24, and two recoveries occurred with no active cases still confirmed in the county.

The total number of Blaine County confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is 2,396.

The Blaine County Health Department release adds that the virus is still present, and people should continue to be careful and watch for symptoms.

“Symptoms include ‘feels like a head cold,’ fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of taste and smell, fatigue, body aches, chills and shortness of breath.  Also watch for ‘pink-eye’ symptoms — red, itchy, burning — as this is a new symptom being reported,” the release said.

“This is a tough time of the year with the beginning of allergy season, but if these symptoms are accompanied by a fever, it’s not allergies,” the release added.

The release asks Blaine County residents to be vigilant.

“Please wash your hands, cover your cough and sneezes, stay away from sick people, stay home when you’re sick,” the release said. “All of these mitigation efforts will help control the spread of illness.” 

It also asks people who test positive on a home test to contact their local health department so the department can provide them with resources they may need, such as a letter for their employer, correct timelines for isolation and quarantine periods and so on.

“We ask this so that we have a better idea of what the level of COVID-19 is in our communities so that we can help protect those individuals that may be at risk for severe disease or complications,” the release said. 

Hill County Health Department chief health officer Kim Berg said Hill County has had a total of 79 deaths since the start of the pandemic in 2020, and 6,114 recovered cases.

Berg said, with the end of the federal emergency that took place this month, COVID-19 is now being handled the same was as influenza is being handled.

“We are only now isolating and investigating hospitalizations/deaths related to COVID-19 with the discontinuation of the public health emergency,” she said in a response to a question emailed by Havre Daily News. “COVID-19 positive cases are still a reportable disease in Montana law, so positive cases will be reported to us, but there will not be any investigation unless the case is hospitalized or, unfortunately, there is a death associated with that case.”

Liberty County Public Health declined to comment on a Havre Daily News request for an update on the number of confirmed cases and deaths. The last data available to Havre Daily News showed four COVID-19-related deaths in the county, although the online tracker reports five deaths.

Chouteau County Health Department had not responded to a request for an update by printing deadline this morning. The last data reported by Havre Daily News listed 14 COVID-19-related deaths in the county, although reported 15 deaths.


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