COVID-19 cases continue to grow

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The ongoing Montana case surge continued this week, though it will look worse than expected in the coming days due to backlogged data from the Columbus Day holiday.

As of Tuesday, Beaverhead County added 42 new cases in the past week, recording 116 active and 1,370 total cases. Cases were tallied in all age groups except people in their 80s and 90s; the majority of new cases appeared in those in their 20s. Vaccinations ticked up to 55% for the county. Beaverhead County Public Health reported on Facebook last week it could not hold its weekly vaccination clinic due to staff shortages.

More than 400 people were hospitalized daily in the past week. The state’s most recent hospital report (Oct. 4) listed Barrett Hospital as having four people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 44% full. Medical facilities in Cascade, Chouteau, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Sweet Grass and Yellowstone counties were over 90% full on that report.

Positive cases at schools also increased, according to the most recent state report (Oct. 6). The University of Montana Western reported nine total cases, eight among staff, since the start of the school year. Beaverhead County High School’s tally is 19 total cases, 10 of those in students. Parkview Elementary reported 37 total cases, 24 of those in students. Dillon Middle School listed 10 total cases, seven in students. Montana Youth Challenge appeared on the report, with 10 total student cases. Wisdom School showed one case; Beaverhead County Superintendent of Schools Mike Miller said that appears to be incorrect, and a future state school report will remove that listing.

There were 6,157 new cases and 46 deaths added statewide in the past week. As of Tuesday, the state listed 160,896 total cases and 2,094 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Tuesday’s daily new case tally hit 2,227, due to no reporting of cases on Monday for the holiday. The statewide vaccination rate increased slightly at 54%, still behind the national vaccination rate of 56.4%.

There have been more than 44.2 million COVID-19 cases and over 711,000 deaths recorded nationwide since the start of the pandemic.