According to the health department, five additional persons in Missoula County have died from COVID in the last seven days.
As the omicron variation continues to ravage Montana, the county added 130 additional COVID cases on Monday, bringing the current overall caseload to an all-time high.
According to the health department, the county currently has 3,123 active cases, the highest since the epidemic began. COVID has already claimed the lives of 198 people.
Missoula County has had a total of 21,818 COVID instances. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 70 million COVID cases and 862,494 fatalities in the United States.
Montana has had nearly 3,000 deaths and over 222,000 cases.
On Saturday, 60 individuals were hospitalized in Missoula due to COVID, with 29 county residents. Over the previous seven days, the county has seen an average of 152 new COVID cases every day.
The acquisition of Montana Rail Link by BNSF follows decades of significant development.
Missoula County’s current test positivity rate is 29.87 percent, which means that, moreover, one-third of persons requesting a COVID test has a positive result. This is also a sign of widespread community spread.
Young adults continue to have the highest number of cases, accounting for little under a quarter of all Missoula County cases. Another quarter of the infections are from children aged 0 to 19, an age range that experts predicted would be affected by this wave.
Many young toddlers and teens have not yet been immunized. Only 25.6 percent of children aged 5 to 11 had gotten a total dose of the COVID vaccination, compared to 44.7 percent of those aged 12 to 14. Of people aged 20 to 29, 52% are fully vaccinated.
Overall, 71.88 percent of Missoula County’s eligible population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, with 62.7 percent wholly immunized.
Schools were particularly heavily damaged.
Since classes started after the holiday break, Missoula County Public Schools has reported back-to-back-to-back, record-breaking weeks of new COVID cases among students and staff.
Since classes resumed in the new year, new COVID cases at MCPS have increased 292%.
The district recorded 134 new cases among students and employees during the first week from holiday. The community recorded 325 instances between Jan. 8-14 and 521 patients between Jan. 15-21.
Each school and district institution, including Missoula Online Academy, has reported at least two new COVID instances this month. Last week, eleven of the district’s 18 schools reported double-digit cases, with Hellgate High School reporting 132 new issues.
Just as new cases have risen, so have the number of students and staff identified as close contacts.
The district recognized 243 people as close connections in the first week from the holiday. That number rose to 1,217 the following week and 1,889 by Jan. 21.
However, due to new CDC recommendations that shortened isolation and quarantine periods to five days, the district recently revised its strategy to identify close contacts.
“Combined, these factors have greatly affected both our and the county’s ability to investigate, contact trace, and notify close contacts,” the district wrote in an email to parents last week. “Often by the time someone is tested, receives results and informs MCPS of a posi,tive test, the quarantine period is nearly over or has passed.”
Two schools in the district have experienced staffing shortages that have led to either a temporary closure or a move to remote instruction this year.
What started as a weather-related closure at Jefferson Elementary School on Wednesday, Jan. 12, escalated into a nearly weeklong closure due to staffing shortages. School at Jefferson resumed on Tuesday, Jan. 18. So far in 2022, there have been five COVID cases at Jefferson.
Big Sky High School transitioned to remote instruction for Wednesday and Thursday of last week, citing staff shortages and a significant number of students out of school. Students received remote education those two days while athletics and other extracurricular events continued as scheduled.
University of Montana
On Monday, the University of Montana reported 23 new COVID cases, bringing it to 199 active reports.
There have been 1,344 cumulative cases associated with the university during the pandemic.
UM sent a message to students before classes began last week, urging them to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks, practice good hygiene,, and stay home if they’re’ feeling sick.