MISSOULA — Just one day after tying a record for COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Missoula County, a new record has been set.
The Missoula City-County Health Department (MCCHD) reports 46 current hospitalizations on Thursday, breaking the old record of 43.
Additionally, MCCHD announced the average daily new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days has also surpassed the record high of 85 recorded on Nov. 21, 2020. Thursday's average stands at 86.
MCCHD reports that area hospitals are "overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients."
Providence St. Patrick Hospital has announced the average age of its patients is 45 to 50 and that they often require several weeks of care.
Prior to the Delta variant became the prominent variant in Missoula County, MCCHD notes the average age of hospitalizations was 80 years of age.
“The Delta variant is a game-changer and it is without a doubt making younger people sicker,” explained COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr.
"This is why we need more young people to get vaccinated. Even if you think it won’t impact you, you never truly know until you actually get it. Getting the vaccine is as close as you can get to being guaranteed you won’t end up hospitalized.”
Missoula County broke its daily new COVID-19 case record with 157 new cases were recorded on Saturday.
Farr says the Delta variant is so contagious we cannot rely on vaccines alone, and the public needs to step up other mitigation measures.
“Pandemic fatigue is real, but the apathy with mitigation efforts is costing us desperately needed hospital beds. We sound like a broken record urging people to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands frequently, but it’s because those tactics work,” she noted.
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows a total of 12,171 cases confirmed in Missoula County including 10,993 recoveries and 116 deaths. Active cases stood at 1,062 on Thursday.