County COVID case rate continuing to climb

Cascade County added 1,059 new COVID-19 cases over the last week, bringing the cumulative total to 19,460.

There were five new COVID-related deaths over the last week, including a food service worker at North Middle School who died over the weekend, according to the City-County Health Department and Great Falls Public Schools.

“It’s sad day in Great Falls Public Schools,” Superintendent Tom Moore told the school board at their Jan. 24 meeting.

COVID cases spike in Cascade County; highest case rate since the start of the pandemic

The new case rate is 185.9 per 100,000, the highest rate in the county since the start of the pandemic, according to CCHD.

The case rate is the average of new daily cases over the last seven days and is calculated on Wednesdays.

Cascade County COVID case rate spikes

The positivity rate is 24.7 percent.

There were 124 new breakthrough cases over the last week, bringing the total since February 2021 to 1,845.

A breakthrough case is when a person who is fully vaccinated tests positive for COVID. A person is considered fully vaccinated when they have received the full initial series of a vaccine, which is two doses for Pfizer and Moderna and one dose for Johnson and Johnson.

GFPS gets state approval for planned use of COVID relief funds for facility improvements

There have been 91,074 doses of the COVID vaccines administered in the county and 37,265 people or 49 percent of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated, according to the state dashboard.

Of those aged 5-11, there were nine percent of people fully vaccinated and four percent partially vaccinated, according to the state data as of Jan. 21.

GFPS returning to classrooms Jan. 18

Of those aged 12-17, there were 34 percent fully vaccinated and five percent partially vaccinated, according to the state.

As of Jan. 24, there were 52 COVID patients hospitalized at Benefis Health System, according to the hospital, and of those, 17 were vaccinated. There were 104 non-COVID patients hospitalized, according to the state’s weekly update.

Six were in the ICU, one of whom was vaccinated, and three unvaccinated patients were on ventilators, according to the hospital.

There were three COVID patients and 14 non-COVID patients hospitalized at the Great Falls Clinic as of Jan. 24, according to the state report.

The Healthy Lives, Vibrant Futures Coalition is holding the 2022 Community Health Symposium on Jan. 27 to gather feedback on community health concerns.

The coalition is comprised of local agencies and nonprofits including United Way of Cascade County, Indian Family Health Center, CCHD, Benefis, Alluvion Health, and Alliance for Youth.

Results from a community survey and your feedback from the symposium will be used to develop a Community Health Improvement Plan that will guide the coalition’s efforts over the next few years.

This year’s symposium will be held virtually. Go to to RSVP and view the recorded discussions of survey results after the symposium.

Every three years, the coalition distributes a Community Health Needs Survey and invites county residents to participate. The survey results are shared with the community at a Community Health Symposium.

The health assessments and improvement plans from prior years can be viewed here. Health issues that were identified as priorities in recent years include access to health care, maintaining a healthy weight, addressing substance abuse, and addressing child abuse and neglect.