Benefis asking community to vaccinate, wear masks as hospitalization numbers rise

Benefis Health System is asking the community for help as their COVID-19 hospitalization numbers increase.

In the hospital’s post, they wrote, “we are turning to your, our community, for help as we brace for another COVID-19 surge. We are afraid of another fall like we had last year. Turning the tide is going to take a community effort.”

Benefis is asking the community to get vaccinated and wear masks. The hospital recently reopened its COVID-19 floor.

Benefis had a vaccination requirement for employees earlier this year, but has since removed the requirement due to HB 702, which was passed by the Legislature this year.

Superintendent recommends returning to school with mask recommendation, no mandate; GFPS board to vote later

As of Aug. 9, there were 14 COVID and 188 non-COVID patients hospitalized at Benefis, leaving 38 beds available, according to the weekly state report. There were two COVID and 18 non-COVID patients in the ICU, leaving one bed available, according to the state report.

At Great Falls Clinic, there’s two COVID and 10 non-COVID patients hospitalized, leaving 24 beds available, according to state data.

State reports most COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated patients

In Cascade County, there have been 61,311 doses of the vaccine administered and 30,662 people fully immunized, or 44 percent of the eligible population, according to the Aug. 9 state update.

The county added 62 new cases on Aug. 10, after adding 70 on Monday and the cumulative total is now 10,038 cases for the county, of which 302 are currently active, according to state data.

Ben Spencer at CCHD said that the active cases number is somewhat misleading in that “some of the ‘active’ cases are ready to be closed, but we are prioritizing case investigation for more recent cases before devoting significant staff time to closing the older cases.”

COVID cases continuing to rise in Cascade County

Since the first week of June, this is the age breakdown of hospitalizations in the county as of Aug. 5, according to CCHD:

  • 0-9: 1
  • 10-19: 0
  • 20-29: 1
  • 30-39: 3
  • 40-49: 3
  • 50-59: 4
  • 60-69: 10
  • 70-79: 4
  • 80-89: 5
  • 90-99: 3

As of July 30, according to CCHD, there were four confirmed unvaccinated reinfections since the agency started tracking that in early July.

According to the CCHD weekly update on Aug. 4, there had been 18 breakthrough cases over the previous week, bringing the total to 67.

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

Breakthrough cases are those in which a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID-19. Fully vaccinated means two weeks have elapsed since the person completed the full course of their vaccination.

The case rate for the last week is 20.7 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is 9.3 percent, according to CCHD, as of Aug. 4.

COVID-19 cases spike this week to 100 active cases

There have been 192 COVID-19 related deaths in the county, according to CCHD’s weekly update.