New cases in Cascade County

This story was updated July 31 with new case information.

Nine new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cascade County as of July 28 and another seven were confirmed on July 29. Three more cases were confirmed July 30. Two more were confirmed July 31.

That brings the county’s total to 136 with 75 active cases, according to the state map.

The state website is only showing one new case for the county while CCHD confirmed two on July 31.

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services said on July 31 that, “local public health authorities release individuals from the ‘active’ category and share that information with state health officials. Notification of state health officials may not occur immediately and local and state maps may be updated on different schedules. For example, some jurisdictions may update their data several times a day, others only once. The state map is updated each morning and as result slight differences in data is reflected at any given time. This is an ongoing process and every reasonable effort is made to ensure consistency.”

During a July 29 press briefing, Gov. Steve Bullock said there are nine counties in Montana that are considered hotspots and make up about 80 percent of the new cases for June and July. He said Cascade County is one of those hotspots, along with Flathead, Lake, Missoula, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone and Big Horn counties.

New cases confirmed in Cascade County

Bullock said that state officials will be working with local health officers to determine if additional resources should be deployed or more steps taken to limit the spread in those hotspot counties.

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Bullock said the increase is not attributed to increased testing but due to the prevalence of the virus and again encouraged Montanans to avoid large gatherings, practice good hygiene and wear masks when distancing isn’t possible.

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According to the Cascade County City-County Health Department, the July 28 new cases are attributed to community spread or have been found through contact tracing.

Here are the July 28 case details:

  • 3 males in their 20s
  • 2 males in their 30s
  • 3 females in their 20s
  • 1 female in her 40s

The July 29 cases are attributed to travel, community spread or were found through contact tracing.

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Here are the July 29 case details:

  • 1 male in his 20s
  • 1 male in his 40s
  • 4 males in their 60s
  • 1 female in her 60s

The July 30 cases are attributed to community spread or have been found through contact tracing, according to CCHD.

Here are the July 30 case details:

  • 1 female under 20
  • 1 female in her 20s
  • 1 female in her 80s

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The July 31 cases are attributed to travel or were found through contact tracing, according to CCHD.

Here are the July 31 case details:

  • 1 female in her 20s
  • 1 female in her 40s

CCHD told The Electric that the county’s “recent spike in cases was not due to a backlog of lab tests, but was rather largely attributed to a cluster of cases.”

There are two active hospitalizations and currently, CCHD isn’t considering stricter guidelines, the agency told The Electric on July 28.

The State of Montana released updated FAQs on July 27 about COVID-19, which are available here.

The Electric has asked for updated numbers on asymptomatic cases and will update with that information when it’s received.

There have been two COVID-19 deaths in the county and 59 recoveries, according to the state.

In Cascade County, there are 71 cases confirmed in people under 40.

The age breakdown, according to the state is as follows, on July 31:

  • 0-9: 1
  • 10-19: 9
  • 20-29: 42
  • 30-39: 19
  • 40-49: 21
  • 50-59: 19
  • 60-69: 16
  • 70-79: 7
  • 80-89: 2
  • 90-99: 0
  • 100+: 0

Earlier this week, the Montana High School Association released its guide for returning to fall sports.

On July 29, the 14th Annual Craig Caddis Festival in Craig was canceled. The event was scheduled for Aug. 29.

On July 22, the Lewis and Clark County Attorney filed a civil action in district court against the Helena Farmers’ Market for operating the market in violation of the health officer’s order.

Farmers’ Market, Brew Fest added to local COVID-19 event cancellations

In early July, the Lewis and Clark County health officer issued a public health order limiting events and gatherings to now more than 250 people and directed  those organizing gatherings between 50 and 249 people to submit a form to the health department no later than 10 days prior outlining the protective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The health order also directs physical distancing of six feet and Gov. Steve Bullock issued the mask order on July 15.

On July 18, Helena officials observed about 250 people at the market with about 25 percent not wearing masks, according to the lawsuit, and the organizers failed to get approval for the event from the health department.