Montana hit a grim milestone after hitting 3,000 COVID-19 deaths on Monday, up seven more since Friday’s last update.
This news comes as the omicron variant of the virus sweeps through the community and marks the largest spike in cases in the state during the pandemic.
“The loss of a single life to COVID-19 is a tragic event with devastating impact. Our condolences continue to go out to those affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Acting City and County Health Officer Bowen Trystianson said Monday in a mailed statement. electronic. “We urge everyone to be mindful of their neighbours, friends and loved ones as they take steps to prevent the spread of this disease.”
Trystianson said the department encourages vaccination as a measure to protect themselves and others, as well as the use of face masks, social distancing and hand hygiene, especially when COVID activity is high.
“Finally, if you feel sick, it’s best to stay home to avoid spreading the disease to others,” he said.
The state released 3,426 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing Montana’s total active confirmed reports to 18,607. This marks a 279% increase in cases since Jan. 3.
Montana has reported 310 active hospitalizations from the virus, two fewer than reported on Friday, according to the state’s covid19.mt.gov website.
Benefis Health System reported 50 hospitalizations for COVID-19 on Monday, down slightly from the 52 hospitalizations reported last week. There has been an increase in the number of patients in the intensive care unit, with now nine patients, seven of whom are on ventilators. All seven on ventilators are unvaccinated.
To schedule a first dose of the vaccine, go to vaccines.gov. To order at-home COVID-19 tests through the federal government, go to covidtests.gov.
Cascade County’s state COVID-19 test distribution will be through the city-county health department, after first listing the Little Shell Tribal Health Center last week. The department will begin distributing the free tests on Tuesday, according to a CCHD news release on Monday.
Test distribution is located at 115 4th St S Great Falls, MT 59401. Rapid home test distribution days and times are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.
Walk-ins are welcome and you don’t need to call ahead or make an appointment, per the release. Each test kit box contains two tests. Be sure to read and follow the testing instructions carefully. If you have any questions about using the test, please contact CCHD for advice.
CCHD requests that test results be reported on the DPHHS reporting site at https://montanagovernment-aijle.formstack.com/forms/montana_covid_home_test_reporting. If you do not have internet access, CCHD asks you to call the service to report a positive result. The number is (406) 454-6950. It is recommended to confirm positive results with a PCR test.
“If demand proves to be significant, please note that limits may be placed on the number of test kits available to each household,” the statement said.
On Monday, Alluvion Health announced it would close its COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Montana ExpoCenter for the remainder of the day after receiving a phone call threatening the organization and staff, according to a statement released Monday.
The Great Falls Police Department, along with the non-profit organization, determined the threat was not credible, but cautiously decided to close the testing site for the remainder of the day. . The site will resume normal operations on Tuesday, February 1.
Cascade County reported 623 new cases and now has 1,998 active cases. There have been a total of 291 deaths in the county from the virus.
Of the state’s eligible population, 54% are fully immunized. Of the county’s eligible population, 49% are fully immune to the virus.
The first case of COVID-19 in Montana was reported on March 11, 2020.
Missoula County added 500 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 2,913 cases. Yellowstone County added 496 cases for a total of 3,622 cases. Lewis and Clark County added 422 cases for a total of 1,279 cases. Flathead County added 275 cases for a total of 1,451 cases. Gallatin County added 151 cases for a total of 1,964 cases.