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31st person dies of COVID-19 in Yellowstone County
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31st person dies of COVID-19 in Yellowstone County

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Another person in Yellowstone County has died of COVID-19, bringing the county death total to 31 people.

The person who died was a woman in her 80s and a Yellowstone County resident. She died Friday at a Yellowstone County hospital, according to a RiverStone Health press release.

Her death was described by RiverStone as "a COVID-19 related death."

The woman's death brings the county death total to 31. Two other deaths were reported Wednesday, one in Ravalli County and the other in Flathead County. The statewide death total is 80. 

There have been 5,268 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Montana since March. Of those, 3,598 people are considered recovered, according to data from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Yellowstone County also added 75 new testing-confirmed cases Wednesday morning. Statewide 175 new cases were reported.

The high number of new cases added Wednesday morning in Yellowstone County is the result of an electronic reporting error, according to RiverStone Health Public Information Officer Barbara Schneeman.

"Due to an electronic reporting error, the reported cases today include tests that were conducted Aug. 1 through 10 and not previously reported. In actuality, because of the reporting error, we have 14 new cases," Schneeman said.

Yellowstone County now accounts for 652 of the state's 1,590 active cases and 31 of the state's 80 deaths.

The county had 44 people actively hospitalized Wednesday morning, which accounts for about 45% of the state's 97 active hospitalizations.

Neighboring Big Horn County has the second-highest number of active cases and deaths, with 311 and 14. Big Horn County added 16 cases Wednesday morning. There were 16 people hospitalized Tuesday morning in Big Horn County.

Yellowstone County has had 27 deaths since July 6, including 16 residents of Canyon Creek Memory Care.

“With each passing, we are reminded that the risk of severe COVID-19 illness increases with age," Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said in a written statement issued Wednesday morning

"Of the 31 deaths recorded in the county, with the exception of two, all individuals who have died have been over 60 years old. We must all take measures to protect those most vulnerable by wearing masks, watching our distance and washing our hands. Staying home while you are ill and avoiding crowds are also important prevention measures.”

The Yellowstone County Unified Health Command operates an online COVID-19 dashboard showing the status of various public health categories and functions related to COVID-19. 

The dashboard uses three different colors to indicate status. Green means "operating at expected/normal capacity." Yellow means "needs beginning to outpace capacity" and red means "stressed operations/critical concerns."

  • Health Department Capacity, defined as having sufficient staff for COVID-19 monitoring and follow-up, was in yellow status.
  • Case Investigation, defined as the ability to manage investigations and contact tracing for all COVID-19 positive results, was in yellow status.
  • Testing Capacity, defined as staff and supplies to screen and test all individuals recommended for COVID-19 testing, was in yellow status.
  • Healthcare System Capacity, defined as sufficient hospital staff, beds, and equipment to treat patients with COVID-19 and all other patients safely, was in yellow status. 
  • Disease Surveillance, defined as monitoring emergency department visits for respiratory symptoms, was in green status.
  • Regional Impact, defined as active COVID-19 cases in UHC's regional service area including surrounding counties, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, was in yellow status.

Additional counties reporting new cases Wednesday morning include: Rosebud with 24 (30 active), Phillips with 15 (68 active), Gallatin with 12 (38 active), Missoula with nine (101 active), Flathead with five (53 active), Hill with three (four active), Blaine with two (two active), Broadwater with two (three active), Lake with two (27 active), Park with two (three active) Stillwater with two (seven active), Beaverhead with one (13 active), Deer Lodge with one (three active), Lewis and Clark with one (52 active), Roosevelt with one (four active), Sanders with one (one active) and Silver Bow with one (27 active).

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