COVID was the third leading cause of death in Montana last year
The state health department has found that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2020 in Montana. Experts predict the same will hold true in 2021.
Provisional data show that 1,258 Montanans died last year due to COVID-19. So far in 2021, there have been more than 1,100 deaths due to the virus.
The state’s acting medical director, Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek, says the deaths are “almost entirely preventable” with the widespread availability of safe and effective vaccines to protect against the virus.
A little more than half of Montana’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. That’s slightly behind the national average, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which is 58% fully vaccinated.
The COVID-19 mortality rate for American Indians was four times higher than for white Montanans. According to state data, more than two-thirds of the patients who died had underlying conditions.
Heart disease and cancer continue to be the top two leading causes of death in the state.