Cascade county adds 114 COVID cases over last week; variants increasing

Cascade County has added 114 COVID-19 cases over the last week, bringing the cumulative total to 9,733 cases, of which 158 are currently active. The county added 50 cases on July 28, according to the state data.

That includes 13 more variant cases confirmed in the county over the last week, bringing the total to 95, and most of the new variant cases are the Delta variant, according to the Cascade County City-County Health Department.

“There are likely many more unconfirmed Delta and other variant cases present in the County—it is not possible to conduct variant sequencing for all cases, but it has been determined that several of the Delta cases were connected to larger outbreak clusters,” according to CCHD.

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According to CCHD, 90.35 percent of the new cases this week were unvaccinated individuals.

Due to the changing COVID situation and rise of variants, the Centers for Disease Control recently updated its recommendations for mask usage to advise that vaccinated people in areas of “substantial” or “high” coronavirus transmissions should wear masks indoors.

The U.S. Department of Defense said July 28 that all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks indoors at DOD facilities.

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“Early evidence has indicated that the Delta variant is more easily transmitted and that vaccines may have reduced effectiveness, but that vaccines remain highly effective in preventing severe illness and death,” according to CCHD and the CCHD follows the CDC guidance.

“Cascade County is currently classified as having the highest level of community transmission,” according to CCHD and the state COVID dashboard.

CDC guidance also states, for vaccinated individuals to “consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.”

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CCHD also recommends wearing a mask outdoors to reduce the harmful effects of inhaling smoke particulates.

“The recent case numbers are particularly concerning preceding the Montana State Fair next week, where thousands of people will be congregating in close quarters, coming from all around the state and surrounding region. We strongly recommend that all persons wear masks both indoors and outdoors at the State Fair. Similarly concerning is the upcoming start of school, where many students are too young to receive vaccines – we encourage all county residents to take all precautions to keep our children safe as the school year begins,” according to CCHD.

CCHD will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations at the fair from July 30 through Aug. 7.

The weekly case rate as of July 28 is now 20 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is 7.9 percent.

Another COVID related death was reported in the county, bringing the county’s total to 190.

There were 11 new breakthrough cases over the last week, bringing the total to 49. That means someone who is considered fully vaccinated contracted COVID. Fully vaccinated means someone who has received either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson and then two weeks have elapsed since their last shot.

As of July 26, there have been 59,903 vaccine doses administered in the county and 30,175 people, or 44 percent of the eligible population, are fully immunized, according to the state data.

Contact the Cascade City-County Health Department at 406-454-6950 or with any questions or concerns.