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Montana COVID update (August 26, 2021)

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 19:41:36-04

GREAT FALLS — There were 629 new COVID-19 cases reported within the last 24 hours in Montana, with 4,239 total active cases in the state as of Wednesday August 26. The last time the state had more than 4,200 active cases was January 25 according to MTN data.

Information from the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services at this point does not include data on whether new cases occurred among vaccinated or unvaccinated people.

Counties with the most active cases as of Thursday

  • Yellowstone County: 119 new, 720 active
  • Flathead County: 100 new, 663 active
  • Missoula County: 71 new, 596 active
  • Cascade County: 12 new, 596 active
  • Gallatin County: 47 new, 233 active
  • Lewis & Clark County: 33 new, 231 active
  • Lake County: 14 new, 131 active
  • Ravalli County: 31 new, 122 active

There were eight new deaths reported; the total number of Montanans who have died due to COVID is now 1,781, according to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS).

The number of people currently hospitalized due to COVID is 210, an increase of 36 since Wednesday. The cumulative number of hospitalizations in Montana due to the virus is 6,265. To date, roughly 1 in 20 (5%) reported COVID cases in the state have resulted in a hospitalization.

An estimated 459,514 Montanans are now considered fully vaccinated - about 50% of eligible residents. The total number of doses administered is 936,356. If you want to get vaccinated, contact your county health department, or click here.

There have been 124,910 cumulative cases of COVID in Montana. The cumulative number of recoveries is now 118,890. There were 5,781 new COVID tests administered since the last DPHHS report.

The information is from the DPHHS website and is current as of Thursday, August 26, 2021.

Montana COVID update (August 26, 2021)

During a Tuesday news conference in Helena, Governor Greg Gianforte said there’s never been a better time for Montanans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gianforte was joined by Bekki Kirsch-Wehner, chief of the state Communicable Disease Control & Prevention Bureau; and Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek, the interim State Medical Officer.

They highlighted data showing that unvaccinated people are at greater risk from the Delta variant of the coronavirus. He also noted that there has been a rise in Delta variant cases in states with and without mask mandates.

The governor reaffirmed his stance that the vaccine and/or masking will not be mandated, and he does not support another lockdown. “The State of Montana will not impose a mask mandate, and the State of Montana will not impose a vaccine mandate,” said Gianforte. “As I always have, I trust Montanans to make decisions that are best for their own health and the health of their loved ones.”

Gianforte also praised Monday's news that the federal Food & Drug Administration has given formal approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

However, he said that people who are are still hesitant about getting vaccinated aren’t likely to be convinced by public figures, including himself. He urged them to talk to trusted healthcare providers. “It’s unfortunate that all of this has been politicized,” said Gianforte. “Politics shouldn’t be part of this.”

DPHHS director Adam Meier said earlier this month that hospitalization data from June 5 to July 30 shows that 89% of Montanans who were hospitalized due to COVID had not received the COVID vaccine. The data includes 358 hospitalizations of Montanans during this time frame. The hospitalizations included an age range from 1 to 97, with a median age of 64.

“This data illustrates just how effective the COVID-19 vaccine is in preventing serious illness when you consider how far we’ve come since the vaccine first became available,” Meier said. “The data is also a reminder of how important it is to get vaccinated. This is now a vaccine-preventable disease, and the last thing we want to see are more cases and hospitalizations. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. The fall and winter months are just around the corner. Now is the time to get the vaccine.”