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Montana reports 431 COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths
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Montana reports 431 COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths

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Montana reported 431 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in an update Thursday to the state case mapping and information website.

The number of active cases was 4,843. The recently reported deaths bring the statewide total to 1,077 people. 

Another death was reported Thursday in Yellowstone County, where more people have died because of COVID-19 infection than anywhere else in Montana. A man in his 70s died Wednesday at a Billings hospital, according to RiverStone Health. The county has now reported the COVID-19 related deaths of 173 residents, including eight in January.

Since Tuesday, counties have added the following number of COVID-19 deaths on the state website:

  • Hill with two (36 people total)
  • Jefferson with two (seven people total)
  • Ravalli with one (27 people total)
  • Lake with one (19 people total)
  • Lewis and Clark with three (45 people total)
  • Missoula with one (59 people total)
  • Roosevelt with one (52 people total)
  • Silver Bow with six (63 people total)
  • Yellowstone with one (173 people total)
  • Stillwater with two (10 people total)

As of Jan. 8, Montanans between the ages of 29 and 102 had died because of COVID-19, with a median age of 79, according to an interim epidemiological analysis published this week by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Of those people who have died, 57% were male, 69% identified as white, 22% as Native American, 8% as "other race or multi-race" and less than 1% as Black or Asian, the report says. 

For 72% of people who have died from COVID-19, DPHHS had underlying and pre-existing conditions information. A review of that data shows that 81% of people had at least one pre-existing condition. Among those with pre-existing conditions, 40% listed hypertension and 27% listed diabetes. The two are not mutually exclusive, the report notes. 

As of the week ending Jan. 8, the number of weekly cases had begun to increase after declining every week in December, according to the DPHHS analysis.

From Jan. 2 through Jan. 8 the state reported 4,000 new cases for the first time since the week ending on Dec. 18. 

The state peaked during the month of November when an average of 7,000 cases were reported each week.

Active hospitalizations were at 192 people in the Thursday update. Total hospitalizations have reached 3,917 people. 

Seven out of 10 large hospitals in the state on Wednesday reported having limited bed availability or being near capacity, according to a snapshot hospital occupancy and capacity report from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Six out of 10 large hospitals on Wednesday reported intensive care units with limited availability or nearing capacity.

Of people hospitalized in Montana with COVID-19 the median age is 70. Among people hospitalized half of them have been between the ages of 58 and 79. For people who did not require hospitalization the median age is 38. Of those people half are between the ages of 24 and 56. 

For 76% of people COVID-19 has hospitalized in the state DPHHS was able to review information about their pre-existing and underlying condition reporting. Among those people 79% indicated they had at least one pre-existing condition. Hypertension was listed by 37% of people and 27% listed diabetes. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that based on current data available as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, 78,350 vaccine doses had been distributed in Montana and 42,083 people had received their first vaccine dose.

That equates to 7,331 doses distributed per 100,000 population and 3,937 first doses received per 100,000 population. 

The CDC updates its nationwide vaccination numbers Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The state has reported 88,110 COVID-19 cases. Of those people infected 82,190 are considered recovered, meaning they meet the CDC guidelines for a person with COVID-19 to be released from isolation. That does not necessarily mean a person is no longer experiencing symptoms or other health effects related to illness.

Another 7,358 tests were completed by Thursday to bring the state testing total to 862,427.

The state averaged 30,000 tests a week in December, down from an average of 36,000 a week from October through November. A recent spike in testing totals when more than 40,000 tests were completed from Jan. 2 through Jan. 8 is the result of "a lag with the electronic reporting of laboratory results and not necessarily an increase in testing," the recent DPHHS epidemiological report says. 

The average weekly test positivity rate in the state has averaged 10% in December and through the first eight days of January. The highest weekly average positivity rate seen in Montana throughout the pandemic was 19% in mid-November.

The most recent epidemiological analysis by DPHHS shows 776 different congregate settings in Montana have had COVID-19 outbreaks. That breaks down to 512 schools, 136 assisted living facilities, 70 long term care facilities, 19 universities, 14 correctional facilities, 10 group homes, five senior independent living settings, seven healthcare facilities and three mental health facilities.

Outbreaks in those settings among residents and staff have resulted in 12,491 cases through Jan. 8 including 4,269 at schools, 3,049 at long term care facilities, 2,639 at universities, 2,097 at assisted living facilities and 274 at correctional facilities. The remaining congregate settings account for between 17 and 65 cases each. 

Among the thousands of people infected with COVID-19 in congregate settings 428 have died. That accounted for 41% of COVID-19 deaths in Montana through Jan. 8. Of those people in congregate settings who died 98% of them were infected in an assisted living facility or long term care facility, according to the new DPHHS epidemiological analysis.

Information on race was unavailable for 24% of cases at the time of the analysis, but for those in which the information was present DPHHS calculated 79% of cases in the state have been among people who are white, followed by 13% of cases among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. Those indigenous groups make up 7% of the state's population.

People in their 20s make up 18% of reported COVID-19 cases in the state, which is more than any other age group, according to the report. 

Counties added the following number of cases in the Thursday:

  • Gallatin with 72 (571 active)
  • Flathead with 69 (421 active)
  • Missoula with 62 (418 active)
  • Lewis and Clark with 43 (491 active)
  • Yellowstone with 36 (1,051 active)
  • Cascade with 35 (545 active)
  • Lincoln with 20 (98 active)
  • Ravalli with 13 (110 active)
  • Lake with 11 (100 active)
  • Hill with nine (79 active)
  • Carbon with six (28 active)
  • Fergus with six (67 active)
  • Richland with five (21 active)
  • Stillwater with five (10 active)
  • Beaverhead with four (27 active)
  • Madison with four (53 active)
  • Rosebud with four (32 active)
  • Silver Bow with four (67 active)
  • Broadwater three (18 active)
  • Dawson with three (seven active)
  • Roosevelt with three (13 active)
  • Glacier with two (35 active)
  • Jefferson with two (34 active)
  • Powell with two (37 active)
  • Big Horn with one (137 active)
  • Chouteau with one (22 active)
  • Custer with one (35 active)
  • Deer Lodge with one (18 active)
  • McCone with one (three active)
  • Mineral with one (six active)
  • Musselshell with one (13 active)
  • Sanders with one (29 active)

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