County added 509 new cases over last week; case rate is 89.4

Over the last week, Cascade County added 509 new COVID-19 cases.

The case rate is 89.4 per 100,000, according to the weekly update from the Cascade County City-County Health Department. The positivity rate is 15.8 percent.

The case rate is calculated as the average of new daily cases over a seven day period and is calculated on Wednesdays. It’s also one of the metrics used to determine transmission rates, which the Great Falls Public Schools district is using to make decisions on health protocols.

As of Oct. 15, there were 91 active cases associated with GFPS. The district updates their COVID numbers on Fridays.

Masks remain required in schools and GFPS facilities.

Cascade County adds 459 new COVID cases this week

The county added another 151 new cases on Oct. 21, bringing the cumulative total to 14,692, according to the state.

Active cases are currently listed as 1,148, but CCHD has said multiple times over the last few months that it may not be accurate as they are prioritizing new case investigations over closing old cases and the state is automatically closing cases after two weeks.

County adds 570 new COVID cases, five new deaths confirmed

Of the new cases, the age breakdown is, according to CCHD:

  • 0-9: 73 or 14.34 percent of new cases
  • 10-19: 85 or 16.7 percent of new cases
  • 20-29: 55 or 10.81 percent of new cases
  • 30-39: 56 or 11 percent of new cases
  • 40-49: 66 or 12.97 percent of new cases
  • 50-59: 58 or 11.39 percent of new cases
  • 60-69: 55 or 10.81 percent of new cases
  • 70-79: 38 or 7.47 percent of new cases
  • 80+: 23 or 4.52 percent of new cases

According to CCHD, 87 percent of new cases were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, and 13 percent were fully vaccinated.

This week’s report removed the number of new variant cases.

CCHD opens scheduling for 3rd COVID vaccine dose

“Staffing and resource limitations have increasingly meant that fewer and fewer samples are sent in for variant testing, however, nearly all of the samples that do get sent in are being confirmed as Delta. It is easily misunderstood if we report just a handful of new Delta cases being confirmed each week, when the testing suggests that all or most of the cases in the county are the Delta variant,” according to CCHD.

CCHD staff are also working with the state to reconcile data on the total number of COVID deaths in the county and a new number will be provided as soon as possible.

GFPS requiring masks for all students, staff due to high COVID rates

Staff said they have two new COVID-19 related deaths confirmed in the county. One was a woman in her 40s and the other a man in his 80s. Both were unvaccinated and had underlying conditions, according to CCHD.

There were 66 new breakthrough cases over the last week, bringing the total since February to 850 in the county, according to CCHD.

Breakthrough cases are those when a fully vaccinated person tests positive for COVID.

A person is considered fully vaccinated when they have received the full series of doses, which is two for Pfizer and Moderna and one for Johnson and Johnson.

Anyone who has had one dose of a two-dose version are not counted in the breakthrough cases.

There have been 71,637 total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the county, according to the state, and 34,215 people, or 50 percent have been fully immunized.

As of Oct. 18, there were 35 people hospitalized at Benefis Health System with COVID and of those four were vaccinated, according to the hospital. Eight COVID patients were in the ICU and of those, one was vaccinated. Six were on ventilators and of those, one was vaccinated, according to Benefis.

Seven COVID patients were hospitalized at Great Falls Clinic, according to the state’s weekly report.

Nov. 2 is the deadline for active duty Air Force members to be fully vaccinated, followed by Dec. 2 for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

As of Oct. 18, 96.2 percent of the active-component population has at least one shot, according to Air Force officials. The percentage of the total force with at least one shot is 92.8 percent, according to the Air Force.

The Air Force is not releasing vaccination numbers by base.