HAMILTON — The Bitterroot is continuing to a spike in COVID-19 cases with Ravalli County Public Health reports community transmission is high and rising.
There were 494 active cases being reported by the health department as of Friday afternoon. Ravalli County Public Health Director Tiffany Webber added that the department has followed up on 602 cases this month with 115 of those in children 18 and under.
Additionally, Webber says they have followed up on approximately 235 cases of “breakthrough” COVID-19, which is defined as positive illness in fully vaccinated people.
Webber explained those cases were predominately in people employed in high exposure areas such as health care and public service. Some of the cases also showed up in people with multiple underlying health conditions.
"The health care system is reporting an increase in hospitalizations from short stays requiring oxygen therapy or hydration to more serious complications requiring intensive stabilization and ventilation," Webber stated in a news release.
Ravalli County Public Health has also “received a number of reported deaths in the last week but those will be vetted before being reported to the state and reflected on the state map,” Webber explained.
The health department is continuing to encourage residents to step up prevention strategies in an effort to reduce the number of infections.
"Vaccination is highly recommended to slow spread and decrease severity. We encourage residents to speak with their provider or pediatrician about vaccination,” Webber stated.
Residents are also being asked to follow the recommended guidance below:
- Physical distancing whenever possible and frequent hand washing
- Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should mask indoors and in close contact settings and outside of cohort groups.
- Vaccinated individuals with a known exposure should mask for 14 days
- Unvaccinated individuals with a known exposure should quarantine. If using the reduced quarantine strategy Public Health recommends consistent and correct masking. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas.
- Please stay home when sick
“Public Health would like to thank Ravalli County School Superintendents for working tirelessly on prevention strategies to accommodate a safe in person learning environment. Thank you to their staff that are doing their best to implement these strategies in an effort to keep our children in school and learning.” - Ravalli County Public Health
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows a total of 4,253 confirmed cases in Ravalli County including 3,752 recoveries and 56 deaths.
There are 19,462 residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 which represents 50% of the eligible population.