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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Yellowstone County COVID Cases Fall, Vaccine Availability Grows

A syringe in a COVID-19 vaccine bottle.

COVID-19 cases continued to fall last month in Yellowstone County. County health officials say the numbers are trending in the right direction as vaccines become more available.

According to health officials, nearly 470 Yellowstone County residents tested positive for COVID-19 in March. That’s a 38-percent decline from February and about a third of the cases identified in January.

As of Thursday Morning, Yellowstone County had 114 active cases, according to state data.

Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton also noted that vaccines are available and demand is softening. 

"This week though, hundreds of first dose vaccination appointments went unfilled online or by phone, even though appointments are open to all county residents ages 16 and older."

Felton called the open appointments disappointing. He says the county is making efforts to vaccinate hard-to-reach populations and is expanding outreach efforts. Currently 24 percent of Yellowstone residents are fully vaccinated.

Felton also noted that some people may have not received their full second dose at a vaccine clinic Wednesday morning. He explained that a contracted pharmacy technician didn’t fill roughly 10 syringes with the correct amount of vaccine. The county health department has contacted those who were likely affected and about 80 others out of an abundance of caution.

The county health department is in contact with federal health officials to figure out how to handle the situation.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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