COVID cases grow, vaccination clinics start this week

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, January 5, 2022

COVID cases are on the rise again locally and statewide, as the nation heads into the third year of the pandemic.

The new cases could be reporting delays due to the holidays, or the new omicron variant expanding in the state. Montana DPHHS officials reported 64 total omicron cases as of Dec. 29, detected in 17 Montana counties. Omicron appears to be more transmissible than delta.

As of Tuesday, Beaverhead County added 23 new cases in the past week, sitting at 18 active and 1,624 total. The county’s vaccination rate remains at 55%, higher than the state (53%), and lower than the national average (62%). The cases were reported in all ages from 0-69, with the majority of cases in people in their 20s and 30s.

Beaverhead County Public Health will hold weekly vaccination clinics at its offices (41 Barrett St.) starting this Friday, Jan. 7. All vaccines are available, including boosters. Appointments can be made by calling 406-683-3203 and leaving a message.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster shots for youth ages 12-17 on Monday.

Montana added 2,911 new cases and seven deaths in the past week. As of Tuesday, the state counted 198,520 total cases and 2,908 deaths.

Hospitalizations have stabilized. As of the most recent statewide report, Barrett Hospital was 28% full and had no COVID patients hospitalized. Facilities in Carter, Musselshell and Yellowstone counties were over 90% full. Hospitals in Cascade and Lewis and Clark counties reported 100% full.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened the isolation period for people who test positive with COVID-19. A person can leave their home (but wear a mask around others) if they have no symptoms (or symptoms are resolving) starting at day 6. Those with fevers should still stay home until the fever resolves itself. For more information, visit releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html .

There have been more than 53.7 million COVID cases and over 820,300 deaths nationwide, according to the CDC.