Yellowstone County recorded 334 new COVID-19 cases Thursday — a daily record — and one new death, according to RiverStone Health.
A woman in her 80s died Wednesday at a Billings hospital, the 339th Yellowstone County resident to die of the disease. She was fully vaccinated with underlying health conditions.
The county also has 2,054 cases awaiting investigation, also a record high, according to RiverStone.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare had 118 COVID-19 patients in their hospitals, including 96 who are unvaccinated.
All individuals with positive COVID-19 tests will receive letters from RiverStone Health with instructions for isolating themselves to prevent spreading the virus to others. Most cases won’t be investigated because the high number of cases has outpaced limited resources.
RiverStone Health is prioritizing the investigation of COVID-19 cases involving people age zero to 19 in an effort to help slow down the spread of disease in schools.
“The high incidence of COVID-19 in our community warrants all of us to take precautions,” said John Felton, Yellowstone County health officer and RiverStone Health president and CEO. “First, I strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older to receive safe, effective vaccines that are readily available at local pharmacies, hospitals and clinics. Additionally, people age 2 and older should wear masks in public, indoor spaces. Everyone should try to avoid crowds and practice consistent, thorough handwashing. These steps will reduce your risk of getting infected with COVID-19.”