BUTTE — A weekly lottery held in Butte over the summer to get those vaccinated against COVID-19 a chance to win money has ended and health officials say it didn’t give the county the boost it was looking for.
“We were hoping it would stimulate interest in getting the vaccine. We don’t really have any data that points us in that direction,” said Diane Regan with the Butte Health Department.
Butte-Silver Bow ranks second in the state at about 64 percent vaccinated. The Vaccination Sweepstakes sponsored by Town Pump each week gave away two $10,000 prizes and three $5,000 prizes to fully vaccinated people between June and September.
In that time, 2,600 people were fully vaccinated, a lift of about 8 percent. However, the goal was to get above 70 percent.
“From that standpoint, we got some increase in vaccinations, increased public awareness of COVID and what’s going on,” said Bill McGladdery of Town Pump.
The county recently reported 168 active COVID cases, and the Health Department continues to get new reports of cases on a daily basis.
“Some are pretty sick that we talk to, so I would like to see them get vaccinated so they don’t get so sick, but right now we’re working so hard just trying to keep our head above water,” said Regan.
Despite the growing number of cases, the Butte Health Department no longer has the authority to implement public health mandates, it can only try to convince the public to make the personal decision to get vaccinated.
“We don’t really have the ability to control it, so we’re just trying to help as much as we can. Getting shots in arms is going to be the only answer right now,” said Regan.
Here's where you can get vaccinated in Butte: the Butte Health Department every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Butte Civic Center will host a clinic Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., any local pharmacy, and the Southwest Montana Community Health Center.
There were 1,315 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday, Oct. 8 in Montana, with 12,539 total active cases in the state.
There were nine new deaths reported; the total number of Montanans who have died due to COVID is now 2,079, according to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS).
The number of people actively hospitalized due to COVID is 463, a decrease from the 465 hospitalizations reported on Thursday. The cumulative number of hospitalizations in Montana due to the virus is 7,998, with the state reporting 69 new hospitalizations since their last report. To date, roughly 1 in 20 (5.04%) reported COVID cases in the state have resulted in hospitalization.
53 percent of eligible residents are now vaccinated, with 493,475 Montanans now considered fully vaccinated. The total number of doses administered is 1,033,867. If you want to get vaccinated, contact your county health department, or click here.
People can visit the DPHHS website at any time for current state data and county-specific information.