HELENA — COVID was the third-leading cause of death for Montanans in 2020, behind only heart disease and cancer – and is likely to maintain that spot in 2021, the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services reported Monday.
The DPHHS report reviewed data of COVID deaths from January 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, using data from death certificates reported to DPHHS as of mid-October. During that time period, there were 2,100 COVID deaths identified among Montana residents.
More than two-thirds of COVID deaths (69%) in Montana had at least one underlying medical condition reported. The most reported underlying conditions were cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.
The acting state medical officer also said these COVID deaths are “almost entirely preventable” – if people are vaccinated.
“Vaccination is the best protection against Covid-19 infection and at preventing severe Covid-19 outcomes,” said Maggie Cook-Shimanek. “We continue to urge eligible Montanans who have not gotten vaccinated to get vaccinated – and for those who are eligible, to get the booster shot.”
The report also said the death rate for Native Americans in Montana from COVID is four times the rate of the White population.
In 2020, a total of 1,258 Montanans died from COVID, and 842 Montanans died from the disease during the first nine months of this year, the report said.
With October’s deaths, the 2021 total for COVID is at 1,000.
The top two leading causes of death in Montana, for 2015-2019, were heart disease (2,206 per year) and cancer (2,088 per year), the report said.
The highest number of COVID deaths occurred from October through December of 2021, although provisional data show that deaths in September 2021 approached previous monthly highs from 2020. In October 2021, 258 Montanans died from COVID, the report said – one of the highest monthly totals for the entire pandemic.
As of November 1st, an estimated 55% of eligible residents are now vaccinated, with 505,703 Montanans now considered fully vaccinated. If you want to get vaccinated, contact your county health department, or click here.
Information from DPHHS at this point does not include data on whether new cases occurred among vaccinated or unvaccinated people. However, some healthcare organizations are releasing hospital-specific information regarding vaccinated/unvaccinated hospitalizations.
Here is information from Benefis Health System in Great Falls that was shared on Monday, November 1, 2021:
Here is information from Logan Health in Kalispell that was shared on Wednesday, October 27, 2021: