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RiverStone Health reports COVID uptick in Yellowstone County

Obese population at higher risk for COVID-19 complications
Posted at 8:56 AM, Oct 17, 2023

(RiverStone Health news release)

Billings, MT – RiverStone Health reports that the Billings region has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. Billings hospitals admitted two new patients with COVID-19 illness every single day of September, compared with an average of one patient a day in July.

In the week ending Oct. 7, 111 Yellowstone County residents were diagnosed with COVID-19 illness through testing at healthcare facilities. Statewide, 733 people were diagnosed. Those numbers don’t include self-testing at home. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus won’t become seriously ill, but some will and the illness can be fatal. So far this year, 23 Yellowstone County residents have died from COVID-19 related illness.

RiverStone Health encourages everyone to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines updated to fight the strains of COVID-19 now circulating are available for everyone over six months of age. These safe, effective vaccines can significantly reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19 illness. Medicare and Medicaid will cover the cost of these vaccines as will some private insurance. Federal programs are making the vaccine available without charge to people who don’t have other coverage. You may receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine and this year’s flu shot on the same visit to your healthcare provider.

RiverStone Health Immunization Clinic, 123 S. 27th St., offers vaccinations against COVID-19, flu and RSV by appointment. Call 406.247.3382. No one will be denied vaccination because they cannot pay.

RiverStone Health is partnering with Carbon County Public Health to offer a walk-in flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Laurel Middle School library. Vaccines will be available for everyone over six months of age. Please use the main school entrance.

RiverStone Health recommends these steps to reduce your risk of getting sick from COVID-19 and other viruses that are circulating this fall:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
  • If you are at high risk for severe viral illness because of age or chronic health conditions, try to avoid indoor crowds and consider wearing an N95 mask over your nose and mouth when indoors away from home.
  • Take a test. The U.S. government is offering four free COVID-⁠19 rapid tests to every household. You may order at covidtest.gov or call 800.232.0233 (TTY 888.720.7489).
  • If you test positive, call your healthcare provider. Prescription medication can reduce the severity of illness for people at high risk.