Four additional COVID deaths recorded in county

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, November 17, 2021

COVID-19 was particularly deadly in Beaverhead County over the past couple of weeks, killing six men between Oct. 24 and Nov. 5, public health officials said.

Public Health Director Sue Hansen said Friday that one death was in a man in his 50s, two were of men in their 60s, and three were of men in their 80s.

Vaccination rates have stalled, and the percentages have dropped statewide due to the inclusion of children aged 5-11 as vaccine-eligible. As of Tuesday, 53% of Beaverhead County residents have been vaccinated, compared to 50% statewide, and 58.8% nationally.

The county added 17 new cases and four deaths to its tally over the past week. As of Tuesday, there were 26 active cases, 1,520 total cases, and 22 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic last year. New cases were recorded in people in age groups from people in their teens to people in their 60s.

Though the most recent COVID surge appears to have subsided, cases are ticking upward in other states.

“The latest COVID-19 surge is a reminder that the pandemic is still here. It is expected that as the weather continues to get colder, and with the holidays in the near future, another sharp rise in cases will occur,” Hansen wrote in a press release. “The Delta virus remains the dominant strain causing more severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths, especially (in) those who are unvaccinated.”

Hansen encouraged residents to use common sense when gathering for the holidays and consider wearing masks when inside crowded public places, socially distance when possible and consider vaccination.

Hospitalizations have decreased somewhat, but some facilities are still near or at capacity. Barrett Hospital and Healthcare is caring for three people with COVID-19, and the hospital was 72% full, as of the most recent state hospitalizations report. Facilities in Chouteau, Flathead, Musselshell and Yellowstone counties were over 90% full. Hospitals in Cascade, Lewis and Clark and Sweet Grass counties were 100% full.

The state of Montana added 3,739 new cases and 76 new deaths in the past week. As of Tuesday, there were 186,207 total cases and 2,513 deaths listed.

There have been more than 46.9 million COVID cases and over 760,200 deaths nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).