BUTTE — The Butte-Silver Bow Health Department confirmed on Monday 11 additional COVID-19-related fatalities.
Nine of the 11 fatalities occurred in November and December and were added to the Health Department’s fatality count due to a review of records and routine reconciliation of cases with state officials, according to Health Officer Karen Sullivan.
Two of the fatalities occurred in January. Six of the fatalities are associated with community members at large, while two are associated with Continental Care and Rehabilitation Center. One fatality is associated with each of the following care homes – The Springs at Butte, BeeHive Homes of Butte, and Crest Nursing Home.
With the most recent deaths, Butte-Silver Bow has seen 78 fatalities overall, related to COVID-19.
In regard to the next mass vaccination clinic at the Butte Civic Center, the event as of early Monday evening was still tentatively scheduled, since Butte-Silver Bow’s Unified Health Command had not yet received from the state a 500-dose allotment of the Moderna vaccine. Sullivan said UHC planners were hopeful that the vaccines would be in hand Tuesday.
Wednesday’s mass vaccination clinic would be the third conducted by the UHC and would be scaled back from the first clinic, which vaccinated 993 individuals. Last week’s second clinic resulted in the vaccination of 597 people.
Sullivan said if the vaccine is received Tuesday, those registered will be contacted by phone and informed of their appointment time. If the inventory is not received, those registered can assume the clinic is canceled and will be rescheduled for the following week.
The clinics remain in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine roll-out plan, with a focus on people ages 70 and older.
Once the UHC team has vaccinated a majority of that demographic, people in the second tier of Phase 1B will be contacted – those ages 16 to 69 with certain underlying health conditions.
On Monday, the Health Department issued its weekly data report. As of Sunday, Jan. 31, the department was reporting 3,464 positive cases in the county, since the county was informed of its first case on March 13. Of those, 3,295 have recovered, and 91 cases remain active. For the week of Jan. 23-29, the Health Department reported 91 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 14 cases from the previous week of Jan. 16-22, when 77 new cases were reported.
Sullivan said the 91 cases are reflective of the recent reconciliation with the state, with cases being added to the Health Department’s case totals.
Sullivan said 79 new cases were actually confirmed for the week of Jan. 23-29. Twelve older cases were added to that total due to reconciling, she said.
Based on those 79 news cases, the daily average cases for the week of Jan. 23-29 was 11, up slightly from the previous week’s daily average cases of 10. Cases per 100,000 population for the week of Jan. 23-29 was 32, up from 28per 100,000 the previous week.
For the week of Jan. 23-29, 289 close contacts were identified, up from 112 the previous week.
The county’s current positivity rate –the percent of people testing positive in a given time period –went down from the previous time period, decreasing to 7.7 percent in the time period of Jan. 21-27, down from 8.1% during the previous time period. Communities should strive for COVID-19 cases of below 25 per 100,000 population, and positivity rate below 10%, Sullivan said.
The Butte-Silver Bow Board of Health will meet Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss those two primary metrics and the board’s emergency rule adopted Dec. 22.
That rule established a local mandate for face coverings, and also established 10 p.m. closure times and 50 percent capacity limits at the county’s bars, restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and casinos. The rule also requires any gathering of more than 25 people is approved by the Health Department.
The call-in number for the meeting, for those wishing to provide comment, is (406) 497-5009.