Missoula County Marks 100th COVID-19 Death
COVID-19 claimed its one-hundredth Missoula County resident earlier this week. County commissioners marked the somber milestone Thursday with a brief ceremony.
Missoula County Commission Chair Dave Strohmaier opened Thursday’s regular meeting on a melancholy note.
“Just recently we achieved the dubious distinction of here in Missoula County having seen our one hundredth COVID-19 death.”
Local health officials were notified of the death Tuesday, the same day county health officials released an urgent message that hospitalizations in the region hit levels not seen since the spring.
Strohmaier says he thinks this week’s death, “Ought to be a palpable reminder that COVID is alive and well, unfortunately, still in Missoula County.”
He then cautioned Missoulians against letting their guard down and encouraged the unvaccinated to get their shots.
“Because the vast majority of folks right now who are contracting COVID are individuals who have not been vaccinated. With that we would like to observe a moment of silence in recognition of the hundredth death; one hundred individual lives with families and stories that stand behind those.”
Missoula City-County Health Officer D’Shane Barnett then provided the commission with an update on local COVID cases.
“We began this week on Monday with an incidence of COVID per 100,000 people in our population as 10. Tuesday it went up to 12. Wednesday it went up to 13. Today it’s gone up to 16. We are absolutely in a spike.”
Barnett echoed Commissioner Stromaier’s request for more vaccinations and urged everyone to mask up in public spaces, practice both social distancing and good personal hygiene.
“We can never get back those 100 lives that we’ve lost, but we can honor them by doing our part to try to make sure that as few additional lives as possible are lost.”
According to the state health department, over 1,700 Montanans have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.