Two more Beaverhead County residents die of COVID-19

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Two men in their 70s died in the past few weeks from COVID-19, Beaverhead County Public Health officials announced last week.

One man died Nov. 30, and the other Dec. 8. The newest deaths bring the county’s total deaths from the disease to 24.

Public health does not release vaccination status of the deceased. Statewide reports from the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) indicated unvaccinated individuals were 4.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and were 3.1 times more likely to die than vaccinated residents. In the past eight weeks, 82% of hospitalizations and 76% of people who died from COVID-19 in Montana were unvaccinated, DPHHS reported.

The new omicron variant of the coronavirus has not yet been detected in Montana, though it is quickly spreading nationally and worldwide. It is unclear if the variant is more deadly, but it is much more transmissible than previous virus variants, CDC officials say.

Beaverhead County lists 54% of eligible residents vaccinated, according to state data. That is below the nation’s vaccination rate (61.2%) but higher than the state rate (52%). Public health’s recent mass vaccination clinics were successful, though interest in the vaccinations and boosters dropped off rapidly after the first clinic, Public Health Director Sue Hansen said.

Residents who want to get vaccinated – or get a booster dose – can do so at the Safeway Pharmacy and county public health. Southwest Community Health Center patients can do so through their provider. Public health will hold vaccination clinics for all doses (except for youth aged 5-11) on Fridays after the start of the new year at its offices on Barrett Street. To schedule an appointment, call 406-683-3203 and leave a message. All three authorized vaccines are available.

Youth aged 5-11 can get their Pfizer vaccine through a series of clinics being offered at Barrett Hospital and Healthcare after the first of the year. To make an appointment, call 406- 683-1106.