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COVID in Montana (Friday December 18)

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Posted at 11:17 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 14:04:44-05

GREAT FALLS — Here is the most recent information about COVID in Montana as of 11 a.m. on Friday, December 18th:

  • Total Cases: 76,398
  • Active Cases: 8,707
  • Total Deaths: 894
  • Recoveries: 66,797
  • Current Hospitalizations: 275
  • Total Hospitalizations: 3,226

The counties with the most deaths to date are:

  • Big Horn: 59
  • Blaine: 22
  • Cascade: 91
  • Dawson: 23
  • Flathead: 51
  • Gallatin: 30
  • Glacier: 31
  • Hill: 34
  • Lewis & Clark: 31
  • Missoula: 46
  • Roosevelt: 51
  • Rosebud: 26
  • Silver Bow: 38
  • Yellowstone: 146

SOURCES: The numbers reported above reflect the latest data from the official Montana COVID website as well as supplemental data from county health departments. The disparity between numbers provided by the MT Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS) and numbers from county health departments continues to grow as COVID cases escalate in Montana. MTN News uses both state data and county data to provide more accurate and timely information. As a result, numbers reported by MTN do not align with the DPHHS figures.

CONTEXT: Not every person who tests positive actually becomes ill or exhibits symptoms. Many do not; of those who do become sick, some experience mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization. Others experience more severe symptoms, and some do require hospitalization. Every person who tests positive for COVID, however, has the potential to spread the virus to other people, including family members and friends, which is why public health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain at least the recommended six feet of "social distance" when in public. The CDC released data in late August which emphasizes that people with contributing or chronic medical conditions are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. Click here to read more.

VACCINE: Governor Steve Bullock on Friday announced that the second week round of allocations of COVID-19 vaccines will target healthcare workers at rural hospitals and staff and residents of long-term care facilities. He also said that the state’s anticipated allocation of vaccine doses through the end of the year has been reduced by the federal government by 20% -- from 60,000 down to 48,000 along with other states across the nation.

In a news release, Bullock said, “It’s disappointing news that our anticipated allocations of the vaccine have been reduced, but our priorities remain the same to protect those most vulnerable to severe disease or death from the virus and those who have been serving on the frontlines. We are best utilizing the resources available to further reduce the strain on our hospitals and to save lives.”

DPHHS allocated next week’s shipment of 6,825 Pfizer doses to what will be the first of ongoing allocations to long-term care facilities, which includes nearly 300 nursing homes and assisted living facilities.; that is a reduction from 10,725 previously anticipated doses. The federal government is contracting with CVS, Walgreens, and Big Sky Managed Care Pharmacy to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The doses will be provided directly to the participating pharmacies to administer.

Additionally, the state is expected to receive 18,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week. This is the same as previously anticipated, but the number will likely be reduced in coming weeks. The Moderna vaccine includes 100 doses per box and does not require ultra cold storage, making it more easily delivered to rural settings or small facilities. The Moderna vaccines will be shipped to Critical Access Hospitals and Community Health Centers for health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. The list of facilities where the vaccine will be sent will be finalized next week.

As of today, the vaccine has been administered to more than 3,000 Montana healthcare workers since the vaccine first became available earlier this week to 10 Montana hospitals. The remaining doses will be administered in the coming days.