County’s case rate continues to decline
Cascade County added 53 new cases on Dec. 18, bringing the county’s total to 6,250.
Of those, 1,397 are currently active, according to the state map.
The Cascade County City-County Health Department said Dec. 18 that the county’s rate of average daily new cases has dropped to 75 per 100,000 from last week’s 88 per 100,000.
In October, the county’s Board of Health voted to implement stricter COVID-19 restrictions that went into effect Nov. 1, including limiting capacity in bars, restaurants and other facilities to 50 percent, and limited events and gatherings to a maximum of 50 people.
Those restrictions will remain in place until the county’s rate of average daily new cases reaches 25 per 100,000 for four consecutive weeks.
When the health board adopted those measures, the rate was 64 per 100,000.
The rate spiked throughout November to 227 per 100,000, which was partially due to backlogs in state reporting, has been hovering between 88 and 100 per 100,000.
As of Dec. 17, there were 40 active cases associated with Great Falls Public Schools.
In mid-November, Gov. Steve Bullock implemented stricter measures, closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., limiting event sizes to 25 and restricting capacity in bars and restaurants to 50 percent.
Bullock said Dec. 18 that the state’s allocation of vaccine doses through the end of the year has been reduced by 20 percent by the federal government from 60,000 to 48,000, along with other states.
“It’s disappointing news that our anticipated allocations of the vaccine have been reduced, but our priorities remain the same to protect those most vulnerable to severe disease or death from the virus and those who have been serving on the frontlines,” Bullock said in a release. “We are best utilizing the resources available to further reduce the strain on our hospitals and to save lives.”
“The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services allocated next week’s shipment of 6,825 Pfizer doses to what will be the first of ongoing allocations to long-term care facilities, which includes nearly 300 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This is a reduction from 10,725 previously anticipated doses. The federal government is contracting with CVS, Walgreens, and Big Sky Managed Care Pharmacy to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The doses will be provided directly to the participating pharmacies to administer,” according to a release from Bullock’s office.
The state is also expecting to receive 18,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week that will be shipped to critical access hospitals and community health care centers for healthcare workers, according to Bullock’s release.
As of Dec. 18, the vaccine has been administered to more than 3,000 Montana healthcare workers this week.