County sees uptick in new COVID cases, vaccination efforts progress

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Beaverhead County added several new coronavirus cases this week in several age groups.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccinations continue their upward trend, with the county nearing 1,500 residents fully vaccinated.

The county added 10 new cases over the past week, totalling 878 cases with nine active as of Tuesday. New cases were recorded in the 0-9 , 10-19, 20-29, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70-79 age groups.

The county reported 1,498 fully vaccinated individuals as of Monday, out of 3,974 total doses administered.

Statewide, new cases and deaths added over the week remained low, though a large increase of previously-unrecorded case data was noted in Cascade County Tuesday. The state added 1,240 new cases and 11 deaths, reporting 102,344 total cases and 1,396 deaths as of Tuesday. There were 142,490 fully vaccinated individuals reported out of 367,211 total doses administered as of Tuesday.

Gov. Greg Gianforte reflected on the past year in a press conference last week, highlighting the total number of cases and deaths in the state. He pointed out the social and economic struggles residents continue to face, ranging from isolation and domestic abuse to closed businesses and individual economic challenges.

“We are making encouraging progress. This is the fourthstraight week with an average of less than 200 new cases per day. Over the last seven days, the average was only 130 new cases per day,” he said.

Vaccination rates are growing, as more consistent vaccine supplies are received, and with the addition of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

Montana moved into Phase 1B+ last week, which moved residents age 60 and over, and those with certain medical conditions, into range to receive the vaccine. Nationwide, President Joe Biden called for states to have the vaccine available for anyone who wants one in May. Montana General Matt Quinn, the executive director of the state COVID-19 Task Force, said they are hopeful and optimistic they may reach that goal. Whether the state does will depend on vaccine supply.

Biden also moved teachers in the kindergarten to 12th grade range into a priority category nationwide.

Nationally, there have been more than 29.3 million cases and over 533,000 deaths recorded as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. CDC.