COVID vaccine boosters offered throughout Cascade County, case numbers dropped last week

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded recommendations for COVID-19 booster immunizations to include all adults age 18 years and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, at least six months after the completion of the primary dose series.

There is no longer a requirement of any underlying health conditions or living/working in a high-risk setting.

Boosters are available through various providers in Cascade County, according to the Cascade County City-County Health Department.

Cascade County added 474 new COVID cases over last week

Big Sky Managed Care is offering booster and pediatric doses by appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 406-315-1989.

CCHD is hosting one walk-in vaccination clinic in December, open to adults and children age 5+ (Influenza vaccinations are also available):

  • Dec. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Holiday Village Mall, 1200 10th Ave. S.

Boosters and pediatric doses are also being given at CCHD by appointment. Appointments can be made by visiting www.mtreadyclinic.org or calling 406-454-6950, option 1.

Cascade County adds 448 new COVID cases this week

Alluvion Health is hosting three walk-in vaccination clinics in December, open to adults and children age 5+ (Influenza vaccinations are also available):

  • Dec. 1, 2-6 p.m., North Middle School, 2601 8th St. N.E.
  • Dec. 8, 2-6 p.m., Paris Gibson Education Center, 2400 Central Ave.
  • Dec. 10, 1-6 p.m., Paris Gibson Education Center, 2400 Central Ave.

This is not an all-inclusive list. Pharmacies located throughout Great Falls are also offering primary and booster vaccinations. Visit www.vaccines.gov or call your pharmacy for more information on availability.

GFPS changes COVID policy; Benefis requiring vaccine for employees under federal rule

The county’s COVID case numbers dropped significantly last week, with just 167 new cases added as of Nov. 24, bringing the cumulative total to 16,614.

The case rate for the week was 29.3 per 100,000 as of Nov. 24, according to CCHD. That’s the lowest case rate since August for the county. The case rate is the average of daily new cases over a seven day period and is calculated on Wednesdays.

The positivity rate was 9.9 percent.

There were two new COVID-related deaths as of Nov. 24, according to CCHD.

As of Nov. 29, there have been 80,876 doses of the vaccine administered and 35,555, or 47 percent of the eligible population, have been fully immunized, according to the state. The percentage has dropped a bit since the eligibility has expanded to children 5-11.

There were 41 new breakthrough cases as of Nov. 24, bringing the total since February to 1,252, according to CCHD.

Breakthrough cases are those in which a fully immunized person tests positive for COVID. A person is considered fully immunized when they have completed the initial series of the vaccine, which is two doses for Pfizer and Moderna and one for Johnson and Johnson.

As of Nov. 29, there were 10 COVID patients hospitalized at Benefis Health System, one of whom was vaccinated.

The hospital said Monday that “we are thankful to see our COVID-19 numbers continue to decline. Our lower COVID numbers have helped bring our current capacity below 100 percent for the first time in a long while, giving our hardworking healthcare heroes a much-needed break.”

Of those, three were in the ICU and three were on ventilators, none of whom were vaccinated, according to Benefis.