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

September was the year’s deadliest month for COVID in Montana

The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

September was this year’s deadliest month for COVID-19 in Montana. According to the state health department, 191 people died in September of COVID-related complications, topping January’s death count. The pandemic shows no sign of slowing in Montana.

In her weekly video update, Cindy Farr, Missoula’s COVID-19 Incident Commander offered this sobering assessment.

“While cases appear to be plateauing in other parts of the nation, that trend isn’t taking hold in Montana just yet.”

Farr Friday said Montana remains one of the few states that still doesn’t have at least 50 percent of its population vaccinated.

“So COVID will likely remain saturated in our community for some time to come.”

Missoula County broke several COVID-19 records last month. That trend continued unabated during October’s first week.

“Today Missoula County broke its daily COVID-19 case record with 178 cases.”

As of Friday, Missoula County was one hospitalization shy of tying the patient record of 57. Seven county residents have died from the virus since October 4.

Gallatin City-County Health Officer Lori Christenson, meanwhile, says the average number of cases this week over last have shot up 28 percent.

“We really need to stay vigilant. This virus continues to be present. It also shows that we have yet to turn the corner in terms of the number of cases that we’re seeing in the community.”

Christenson says the unvaccinated make up most local cases and hospitalizations.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department is now offering free COVID-19 rapid testing on Friday evenings and Saturdays at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.

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Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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