State reports most COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients
State health officials released data Aug. 5 regarding the hospitalizations in Montana related to unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.
Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Adam Meier said in a release that COVID‐19 related hospitalization data from the past eight weeks from June 5 to July 30 shows that 89 percent of Montanans who were hospitalized had not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The data includes 358 hospitalizations of Montanans during this time frame. The hospitalizations included an age range from 1 to 97, with a median age of 64, according to DPHHS.
In Cascade County, since June 5, 81.5 percent of hospitalized cases were unvaccinated and 18.5 were vaccinated, according to the City-County Health Department.
The hospitalization information is included in a new Interim Analysis of COVID-19 Cases in Montana report that DPHHS issued Aug. 5.
According to DPHHS, the average daily number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has slowly started to trend upward to the current average of 95 people, which includes a 44 percent increase from the week ending July 23 to the week ending July 30.
Last November, the average daily COVID hospitalizations were 427 people, which was the month with the highest reported COVID cases and hospitalizations, according to DPHHS.
The trend of new COVID-19 positive cases is also increasing, according to DPHHS data. For the week ending June 25, there were 359 cases reported and for the week ending July 30 there were 1,180 cases reported statewide.
“This data illustrates just how effective the COVID-19 vaccine is in preventing serious illness when you consider how far we’ve come since the vaccine first became available,” Meier said in a release. “The data is also a reminder of how important it is to get vaccinated. This is now a vaccine-preventable disease and the last thing we want to see are more cases and hospitalizations. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. The fall and winter months are just around the corner. Now is the time to get the vaccine.”
The number of individuals receiving their first vaccine dose has started to steadily increase over the past several weeks, after declining in June and the first part of July, according to DPHHS.
For example, for the week ending July 23 to the week ending July 30, there was an 18 percent increase in individuals receiving their first dose administration.
As of Aug. 5, more than 900,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and more than 445,000 Montanans are fully vaccinated. This is 48 percent of the eligible population. Montana’s current vaccination rate mirrors the rest of the country. For vaccine information, Montanans are encouraged to go to covidvaccine.mt.gov.
In Cascade County, there had been 60,467 total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered and 30,356 or 44 percent were considered fully immunized, according to state data, as of Aug. 2.
DPHHS reports Montana’s current vaccine uptake report by age group and county and the report is here.
About 74 percent of Montanans age 60 and over, those most vulnerable, are fully vaccinated, according to DPPHS.
DPHHS acting State Medical Director Maggie Cook-Shimanek said Montana has done well to vaccinate those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, but all eligible should get the vaccine.
“While we know the older population and those with underlying medical conditions have required hospitalization more often from COVID-19, it’s important for all individuals to get the vaccine to limit the spread in Montana,” Cook-Shimanek said in a release. “As it spreads, the virus replicates and creates new variants, which have the potential to increase transmission and cause more infections. That has been the case with the Delta variant in recent months. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep you and your family safe.”
DPHHS regularly reports on a variety of COVID-19 related information such as case and vaccine information, a summary of cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hospital occupancy and capacity, percent of eligible Montanans fully vaccinated and variants of concern. These reports are all posted here.