LIBBY — COVID-19 cases are surging in the most northwestern tip of Montana as Lincoln County currently has 311 active cases of the virus and 28 COVID-related hospitalizations.
“We’re very busy, we’re busier than we’ve been throughout the whole outbreak, in fact we have broken many daily records of new cases and continue to see those high numbers daily,” Lincoln County Public Health Manager Jennifer McCully told MTN News.
McCully said COVID-19 is surging in the county causing major problems in schools and assisted living facilities.
The Libby Care Center confirmed to MTN News that ten residents of the facility died from COVID-19 in August from a COVID-19 outbreak that started late July.
Eureka Public Schools have seen on and off closures since the beginning of the school year to due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
“We saw several schools that had a lot of cases, particularly on the little ones, the very young ones that cannot be vaccinated and it moved quickly through those classrooms,” said McCully.
McCully says smaller hospitals in the rural county are reaching capacity levels as patients need to be transferred to a higher level of care.
“I think the biggest struggle is trying to send people to a higher level of care and not being able to easily find beds,” added McCully.
At this same week last year, Lincoln County reported 6 new positive cases of COVID-19, compared to 198 new positive tests already reported this week according to information from the Lincoln County Health Department.
McCully said unvaccinated residents are putting themselves, family, and friends at high risk.
“We talk to every positive, every confirmed positive and there’s a clear line between how sick vaccinated people are getting versus unvaccinated people, so the unvaccinated folks are sicker for a long time and a lot more sick,” said McCully.
The Montana COVID-19 tracking map shows a total of 2,728 cases have been confirmed in Lincoln County including 2,374 recoveries and 43 deaths.
A total of 7,255 Lincoln County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 representing 41% of the eligible population.