Missoula County had its largest one-day increase of COVID cases on Saturday, the health department said Tuesday.
On Sept. 11, the county had 157 new cases, a new daily high, according to a news release. Including Sunday, the weekend total was 221 new cases. An additional 121 new cases were reported on Tuesday, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,186.
The county had 1,217 active cases on Nov. 21, 2020, its highest mark of the pandemic.
"If this trend continues, Missoula County will likely break its record high of active cases Wednesday morning," the release said.
There have been 11,924 cumulative COVID cases in the county — which has the highest vaccination rate in the state, but some age groups are lagging behind.
“Just over 52% of 20- to 29-year-olds have received at least one shot, which is nowhere near herd immunity,” Missoula County Health Officer D'Shane Barnett said. “It is no coincidence that this age group is making up the majority of our cases right now.”
The 20 to 29 age group comprises 20.34% of all active cases in the county, followed by 50 to 59, which comprises 18.23%. Additionally, 18.15% of cases are those in the 0 to 9 and 10 to 19 age groups — 215 children in total.
About 69.25% of the county's eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. In total, 55.85% are considered fully vaccinated against COVID.
Health officials urged the community to "do their part" when it comes to mitigation measures, as the health department no longer has the authority it did a year ago to take preventative action.
“We’re getting troubling calls from employees who say their employers have asked them to come to work despite testing positive for COVID-19, having symptoms or being identified as a close contact," said COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr.
A Twitter account for St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula said it is triaging COVID patients in its ambulance bay.
"Providence St. Pat's Emergency Department physician, Dr. Dan Pierce, says the overwhelming number of unvaccinated patients with COVID are being triaged in the ambulance bay. Our message: GET VACCINATED!" the tweet said.
Jordan Hansen covers news and local government for the Missoulian. Shout at him on Twitter @jordyhansen or send him an email at Jordan.Hansen@Missoulian.com