BUTTE — The Butte-Silver Bow Health Department confirmed Tuesday the deaths of two additional Butte-Silver Bow residents due to COVID-19, resulting in a total of 98 residents who’ve died of COVID-19 illness since the virus event began locally in March 2020.
The fatalities were those of a man in his 70s and a man in his 60s, Health Officer Karen Sullivan said Tuesday.
As of mid-day Tuesday, 18 individuals were hospitalized at St. James Healthcare with COVID-19 illness.
Of those 18, eight were hospitalized in the hospital’s intensive care unit, with six of those individuals on ventilators. The age range of the patients is from the 30s to the 80s.
As of early Tuesday morning, the Health Department was reporting 142 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, but the department had added 13 newly confirmed cases later in the same morning.
For the epidemiological week of Oct. 2-8, the county saw 162 cases newly confirmed, which averages to more than 23 cases daily. That is a decline from the previous epi-week when the county saw 191 cases newly confirmed and an average of more than 27 newly confirmed cases daily.
“We are not saying yet that we’ve plateaued in regard to the current COVID surge attributed to the Delta variant, but it is pleasing to see our newly confirmed cases decline rather than increase,” Sullivan said.
In addition to the 162 cases added Oct. 2-8, this past weekend saw nine new cases added; an additional 27 cases were added Monday.
The median age for the last epi-week was 35.
Of the 142 active cases reported Tuesday morning, 37 cases – or 26 percent – were age 17 or younger, with 23 of those individuals ineligible to be vaccinated because they’re younger than age 12.
Among the 13 cases added Tuesday morning, one individual was not yet 1 year old.
“Obviously, the Delta variant to the virus causing COVID-19 in the community is hitting our younger demographic in a significant way,” Sullivan said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold an advisory committee meeting Tuesday, Oct. 26 to discuss COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11. The FDA is also holding advisory committee meetings this week to discuss emergency use authorization for Moderna and J&J booster doses. The Moderna booster will be discussed Thursday, Oct. 14, while the J&J booster will be discussed Friday, Oct. 15.
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is being held Tuesday at the Health Department until 4 p.m. Entrance to the clinic is on the west side of the building located at 25 W. Front. The clinic features Pfizer first shots, second shots, third shots and booster shots. The clinic also features Moderna first shots and second shots and Johnson & Johnson shots.
An additional COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13 at the Butte Civic Center. This clinic will also feature Pfizer first shots, second shots, third shots and booster shots. This clinic will also feature Moderna first shots and second shots and Johnson & Johnson shots.
Clinic organizers are asking that reservations for this clinic be made at https://www.butteciviccenter.com.
Walk-ins at this clinic are also welcomed.
COVID-19 vaccines are also available at Safeway on Massachusetts; Walgreens; CVS; Walmart; the Medical Arts Pharmacy next to St. James Healthcare; the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department; and Southwest Montana Community Health Center.
In regard to COVID-19 testing, those seeking a test may call Southwest Montana Community Health Center at (406) 723-4075. Drive-through testing is also available with an order from a provider through St. James Healthcare's Outpatient Laboratory Services. Testing occurs near the St. James Healthcare Foundation building on weekdays in the mornings at 11:30 a.m. and in the afternoons at 3:30 p.m.
Testing is also available to all community members through the Butte Native Wellness Center, 55 E. Galena, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, and 8 a.m. to noon Thursdays and Fridays. Testing may be coordinated at (406) 782-0461. Nova Health Urgent Care at 3545 Harrison is also offering COVID-19 tests. The clinic may be reached at (406) 430-1034.
The Montana Technological University community – faculty, staff and students – is asked to seek testing through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Testing is also available at select area pharmacies, and home tests are now available over the counter.
Those testing positive at home can seek guidance from the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department at (406) 497- 5008 or (406) 497-5041.
As of Tuesday, the Health Department was reporting a test positivity rate of 7.4 percent. The department was also reporting, as of Tuesday morning, 65.32 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. The Harvard Global Health Institute says that communities sustaining more than 25 cases per 100,000 population should be implementing mitigation measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing.
Sixty-five percent of eligible Butte-Silver Bow residents are vaccinated, putting the county at No. 2 in the state for vaccination rate, behind Missoula County, which is at 66 percent.
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