County records three new COVID-19 deaths

By 
Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A man in his 60s is the 26th Beaverhead County resident to die from COVID-19, public health officials said last week.

The man died on Feb. 8. The disease has killed 21 men and five women in the county since the pandemic started in 2020.

Details on the other two most recent deaths were not available by press time Tuesday.

Cases in the county and statewide are subsiding, though there was a jump in new cases Monday (likely due to the Presidents’ Day holiday and no weekend reporting). Beaverhead County added 25 new cases and three deaths in the past week. As of Tuesday, there were 15 active cases, 2,096 total cases, and 28 deaths recorded in the county. The vaccination rate remained at 56%. The majority of new cases were in people in their teens, 50s and 70s. Additional new cases were tallied in people in their 20s, 30s and 60s.

Beaverhead County High School is now posting its weekly COVID cases on its website. As of Feb. 11, the district listed 53 total cases since the start of the school year, with 42 of those in students.

School District #10 has not updated its COVID case counts since Dec. 19. The statewide schools report (updated Feb. 16) shows 70 total cases for Parkview Elementary, 46 of those in students. Dillon Middle School recorded 35 total cases, with 27 of those in students.

Jackson and Wisdom listed one case in a student, each; Lima and Polaris listed one case in a staff member, each; Wise River listed three cases, all in students. Youth Challenge recorded 15 total cases, with 13 in students. The University of Montana Western (UMW) tallied 58 total cases since the start of the school year.

UMW officials updated their masking requirements Feb. 14, making masks optional though recommended. Administrators encouraged people to stay home if they have any symptoms of illness, and continue hand washing and other mitigation efforts. The university will host a free vaccination clinic, with COVID-19 shots and boosters, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, on campus. The clinic is for UMW students, faculty and staff only. Appointments are required – call Rachel Harris at 406-683-7388 to schedule. Mask use is required while at the appointment.

Barrett Hospital was 50% full, and had no COVID patients as of the most recent statewide hospitalization report. Facilities in Prairie and Yellowstone counties were over 90% full. Hospitals in Big Horn, Cascade, Lewis and Clark and Meagher counties reported 100% full.

Montana added 4,493 new cases and 42 deaths over the past week. As of Tuesday, the state counted 263,358 total cases and 3,125 deaths. The vaccination rate is unchanged at 54%.

There have been more than 78.2 million COVID cases and over 930,800 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic nationwide. The national vaccination rate ticked up to 64.7%.