Vaccine clinics head to Armory this week

By 
Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Vaccine clinics head to Armory this week

Beaverhead County Public Health is stepping up its efforts to provide the coronavirus vaccine now that every person is eligible for them in Montana.

The first big change will be holding the clinics at the Montana National Guard Armory on Highway 41, which will provide more space for parking. The second change is the clinics will be held weekly on Fridays.

Public Health Director Sue Hansen said the clinics are moving to provide more parking, which will help the department administer more shots overall. The clinics at the University of Montana Western’s Keltz Arena were capped at around 500 shots due to parking congestion.

Hansen said Monday they hope to administer 800 shots at the Armory this week. Since more places have opened up opportunities for giving shots, staff are now running into people who have scheduled to get theirs with public health, but instead get it elsewhere and do not inform staff about the change. This presents problems, as the Moderna two-shot vaccines are fragile, so public health schedules appointments to ensure they use up the supply they prepare for the day. If people miss their appointments, staff need to scramble to find others who will take the shots at the last minute.

Hansen added public health is seeking more volunteers to help at the clinics, since she does not want to exhaust her current volunteers. To volunteer to help at the clinic, call 406-683-4771 to get details.

To schedule a vaccine appointment with public health, call 406-683-3203 and leave a message with name and phone number. To find out more about locations providing vaccines, visit vaccinefinder.org or covidvaccine.mt.gov.

Over the past week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed guidelines for fully vaccinated people looking to travel nationwide. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their last vaccine shot. It is still strongly recommended to continue to use masks, physical distance and wash hands while traveling and while visiting with unvaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people do not have to get negative tests prior or after travel, or self-quarantine after travel, according to the guidelines.

Vaccinations statewide are growing. As of Tuesday, Montana reported 534,000 total doses administered, with 215,022 residents fully immunized. Beaverhead County has fully-immunized 2,246 people, out of 5,308 doses administered as of Sunday.

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced he received a positive COVID-19 test Monday, after showing mild symptoms Sunday. Gianforte is isolating for 10 days and notifying close contacts. The first lady had no symptoms and is awaiting her test results.

Beaverhead County added three cases to its COVID tally over the past week. As of Tuesday, the county counted four active cases and 894 total. Montana added 1,012 new cases and 40 deaths over the past week, though some of those were due to data reconciliation for cases that had not been counted from January to March. As of Tuesday, Montana listed 105,333 total cases and 1,477 deaths.

More than 30.5 million COVID cases and over 554,400 deaths have been counted nationwide as of Tuesday.