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

COVID-19 Cases Are Spiking Among The Young, Unvaccinated In Some Montana Counties

COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21
Credit: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21

A few counties across Montana are seeing notable spikes in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Flathead, Park and Cascade county health officials say the virus is affecting the old and young alike.

Deputy Health Officer of Cascade County Bowen Trystianson says cases have been on the rise for about two weeks.

“On average, I think this week, we were getting around 10 to 20 reports a day, or so, of new cases, and we’re seeing a lot of that in the younger population.”

Trystianson says people in their 40s and 50s are also showing up in the hospital, a notable change from earlier in the pandemic. Hospitalizations statewide have been ticking upwards, jumping from 59 Monday to 68 Friday. Four new COVID-19 deaths were reported this week.

Park County Health Officer Laurel Desnick says she is seeing a similar trend with younger people driving transmission. 

“The virus currently circulating in Park County seems to be more contagious than anything we have seen before, for young and old alike.” 

Like other county health officials, Flathead County Health Officer Joe Russell says all the cases he is seeing are coming from unvaccinated people.

“Any time you have clustering of people with a significant amount that may not be vaccinated, you’re going to have some events.”

Russell says these spikes in cases are a good reminder as to why it’s crucial that Montanans get in for their vaccine. About 42 percent of Montanas have at least one dose. 

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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