Cascade County COVID numbers still high

Cascade County added 351 new COVID-19 cases over the last week, bringing the cumulative total to 11,470, of which 970 are currently active, according to the weekly update from the City-County Health Department.

The county’s case rate for the last week is 61.6 per 100,000 and the positivity rate is 12.5 percent, according to CCHD. That’s down from last week’s case rate of 79.7 per 100,000 but the positivity rate is steady.

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There were 60 new breakthrough cases over the last week, bringing the total since February to 364.

Breakthrough cases are those in which fully vaccinated people contract COVID-19. Fully vaccinated means two weeks have elapsed since a person’s final dose of the vaccine.

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Breakthrough case numbers do not include those with only one shot of the vaccine, per CCHD.

There were 26 new variant cases over the last week, bringing the total in the county to 180. Most of the new cases in recent weeks have been the Delta variant, according to CCHD.

As for reinfection numbers among the unvaccinated, about a month ago, CCHD said they’d confirmed four such instances, but are not tracking those numbers specifically.

“We are still considering the reinfection numbers to be too unreliable to report regularly. We catch them and document them when we can, but the impossibility of verifying the many untested reinfection reports means we can’t be confident that our data accurately represents reality,” Ben Spencer of CCHD told The Electric on Sept. 3.

There have been 198 COVID-19 related deaths in the county, including one since last week, according to CCHD.

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As of Sept. 10, there were 107 COVID-19 cases affiliated with Great Falls Public Schools. That’s up from 80 the previou week.

School opened Aug. 25 with a mask requirement at the elementary level and a strong encouragement for masks at the middle and high school levels.

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The district is updating their COVID numbers weekly on Fridays.

As of Sept. 6, there have been 64,928 doses of the vaccine administered in Cascade County and 32,165 people are considered fully vaccinated, or 47 percent of the eligible population, according to the state dashboard.

As of Sept. 3, among the 12-17 age group, 32 percent had been vaccinated, according to the state.

As of Sept. 6, according to state data, there were 172 non-COVID and 21 COVID patients hospitalized at Benefis Health System, leaving 47 beds available. There were 18 non-COVID and three COVID patients in the ICU, leaving no beds available.

At Great Falls Clinic, there were 10 non-COVID and six COVID patients, leaving 20 beds available.

Benefis is seeing kids getting sicker with the Delta variant than the original strain of COVID-19 and there were two hospitalized pediatric patients with the virus as of Sept. 8, according to Whitney Bania, Benefis spokeswoman.