COVID vaccination clinic May 21-22; Cascade County leads state in active cases

The Cascade County City-County Health Department is partnering with Alluvion Health to host a walk-in COVID vaccination clinic May 21-22 for people 12 and older.

The clinic will offer the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. 

Pfizer will be offered to everyone 12 and older. 

Johnson and Johnson will be offered to anyone 18 and older.

The clinic is May 21 from 2-7 p.m. and May 22 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Exhibition Hall at the Montana Expo Park.

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Those getting the Pfizer vaccine must be available for their second dose June 11 or June 12, according to CCHD.

Those unable to attend the walk-in clinic may schedule vaccine appointments at mtreadyclinic.org or call 406-791-9250, or go to vaccines.gov to view availability with other healthcare providers in the county.

The first 1,000 people to get their vaccine at the clinics will get one carnival wristband for The Mighty Thomas Carnival during the Montana State Fair set for July 30 through Aug. 7.

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The wristband can be used any day of fair, according to an email from Montana Expo Park.

As of May 17, there were 51,905 doses given in Cascade County and 25,140 people considered fully vaccinated, according to the state map. That’s 36 percent of the eligible population in Cascade County considered fully vaccinated, according to County Health Officer Trisha Gardner.

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Over the last week, the county added 124 cases, according to CCHD on May 19 and on May 20 there were 223 active cases in the county, the highest number of active cases in the state.

According to the state’s data, as of May 20, Cascade County had a cumulative total of 9,213 cases and 169 deaths.

The case rate for the week ending May 19 was 22 per 100,000 down from last week’s 28 per 100,000.

The positivity rate for the week ending May 19 was 7.7 percent, up slightly over last week’s 7 percent, according to CCHD.

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As of May 19, there were 19 active cases associated with Great Falls Public Schools. 

So far, there have been 18 breakthrough cases and 13 total variant cases. That’s one new variant and two new breakthrough cases since last week.

A breakthrough case is when someone who has been fully vaccinated, meaning they got either both Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single Johnson and Johnson shots, and 14 days have elapsed since their last shot.

One of the breakthrough cases was a variant and it was the U.K. variant, according to CCHD. The majority of the breakthrough cases have been people over 60 with underlying health conditions, Gardner said during the May 18 City Commission meeting.

All breakthrough cases and COVID hospitalizations get tested for variant, Gardner said, and there’s some randoming testing as well to look for variants.

During the meeting, she said that the case rate has come down from the prior week, but “it’s still higher than we want it to be.”

She told commissioners that the hospitals were filling up, though state data shows that the majority of patients are non-COVID patients. 

As of May 17, according to state data, there were 12 COVID patients at Benefis and 201 non-COVID, leaving 27 beds available. There are two COVID patients and 17 non-COVID patients in Benefis’ ICU, leaving two beds available, according to state data.

At Great Falls Clinic, there are 12 non-COVID and two COVID patients, leaving 22 beds available. 

During the May 18 meeting, City Commissioners thanked Gardner for her efforts during the pandemic and she received a standing ovation from everyone in the room.