Cascade County meets case rate requirement for one week, one week to go

Cascade County’s case rate for the last week was 8.25 per 100,000 as of March 10.

That marks the first week in the county’s requirement of two consecutive weeks of 10 or less per 100,000 to lift the mask rule.

As a reminder, the case rate is the average daily rate of the previous week and it is calculated on Wednesdays.

Mask rule remains in effect in Cascade County for at least two more weeks

The county added 21 new cases between Tuesday and Wednesday and as of March 10, had a total of 7,767 cases per the state map. Of those, 35 are currently active.

As of March 9, there were 23 active cases within the Great Falls Public Schools district. Superintendent Tom Moore said the district had been down to one case but was experiencing an uptick over the last few weeks.

Moore said that the district was maintaining its COVID protocols, which includes masks, and would revisit that if the county health order is lifted, but the district is able to make its own mask policy, which has been in place since August and approved by the school board.

The Great Falls Public Library also has its own mask policy, which has been in place since July, before the state mandate went into effect. Staff is currently working on their plan to lift COVID restrictions and will present that to the library board for consideration at a later date.

If the case rate remains low for the next week, the mask requirement could be lifted as soon as March 17 in Cascade County.

Cascade County health board adopts mask requirement

The county’s case rate was 15 per 100,000 for the week ending March 3, it had been 8 per 100,000 the previous week. Since the county didn’t meet the rate requirement from the Feb. 17 order by the City-County Board of Health, the two week clock started again on March 3.

The Feb. 17 health order requires masks and limits events to 75 percent of venue capacity until the county reaches a case rate of 10 or less per 100,000 for two consecutive weeks.

As of March 10, there have been 22,378 total vaccine doses administered in the county, according to the state map, and 8,180 people have been fully vaccinated.

The next round of vaccine appointments have not yet opened in the county.