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Montana add 174 new COVID-19 cases, 81,673 now fully immunized
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Montana add 174 new COVID-19 cases, 81,673 now fully immunized

Montana added 174 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and four deaths due to the virus.

The number of active cases in Montana is currently at 1,897, according to the latest update to the state’s virus mapping and tracking website. The additional deaths bring the total since March 2020 to 1,354 as the number of vaccines administered in the state has reached nearly 242,000.

Gov. Greg Gianforte praised the vaccine rollout, and the drop in new daily cases, during a press conference Thursday. Lee Newspapers' Montana State News Bureau reported Montana had a vaccine administration rate of 82%, placing it ninth in the nation among all states.

A total of 81,673 people in Montana are fully vaccinated, having received two doses of the available COVID-19 vaccines. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve a third single-dose vaccine Friday produced by Johnson and Johnson. Gen. Matthew Quinn, who leads Montana's COVID-19 Task Force, said during the press conference that he anticipates Montana receiving a portion of the 1 million doses of the newest vaccine slated to ship after approval.

Despite the success in vaccinating Montanans, and the overall drop in the state’s mortality rate since January, deaths continue to be reported on a daily basis. Montana has averaged two deaths a day for the past two weeks, according to data from the New York Times. 

The number of people hospitalized in Montana as of Friday remained at 76, most of whom are being treated in Yellowstone County. Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Health Care have 28 of their beds occupied with COVID-19 patients, according to a snapshot report from the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. The virus has sent a total of 4,571 people to Montana’s hospitals.

Since the state’s first case last year, 99,613 Montana residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 96,362 are considered to be recovered, meeting the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection for an individual to leave isolation without spreading the virus.

The state processed 6,545 new tests as of Friday for a total of 1,069,964.

Counties added the following number of cases in the Thursday update:

• Gallatin with 33 (286 active)

• Flathead with 19 (202 active)

• Yellowstone with 19 (552 active)

• Silver Bow with 16 (87 active)

• Lewis and Clark with 15 (108 active)

• Cascade with 13 (44 active)

• Missoula with 12 (125 active)

• Park with seven (73 active)

• Lake with six (55 active)

• Ravalli with five (51 active)

• Deer Lodge with four (seven active)

• Madison with four (25 active)

• Roosevelt with four (21 active)

• Chouteau with two (four active)

• Jefferson with two (five active)

• Sweet Grass with two (10 active)

• Blaine with one (eight active)

• Carbon with one (nine active)

• Carter with one (five active)

• Custer with one (three active)

• Hill with one (19 active)

• Meagher with one (one active)

• Mineral with one (eight active)

• Powell with one (two active)

• Richland with one (11 active)

• Stillwater with one (two active)

• Teton with one (two active)

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sounding the alarm that recent gains against the coronavirus may be stalling. Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the CDC is looking at data that COVID-19 cases have been increasing the past three days, but more time is needed to see if that is a blip or the start of a trend.

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