Report: Montana leads nation in per capita COVID-19 increase in last two weeks

Grady Higgins Great Falls Tribune Published 1:33 MT Sept. 20, 2021

Montana led the nation over the past two weeks in positive COVID-19 case increases per capita, according to data tracked by the New York Times.

In the last 14 days, Montana saw a 55% increase in virus cases in daily reports per 100,000. In that two-week period, the state reported an average of 858 cases per day, or 80 per 100,000.

Montana is currently sixth in COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the contiguous U.S. as of Monday. 

Sanders County in northwestern Montana saw the biggest spike in the nation among individual counties over the past two weeks, per The Times data tracker. Sanders County, of which Thompson Falls is the county seat, has seen a 775% increase in COVID-19 cases over the past 14 days, averaging 20 cases per day or 165 per 100,000. The county has a population of just over 12,000 according to the last Census in 2020.

Tennessee currently leads the nation in daily cases per 100,000 with 109, followed by West Virginia with 102.

Montana reported 1,619 new cases on Monday and has 9,721 active virus cases. The increase accounts for positive cases over the weekend, as the state does not update its numbers on Saturdays and Sundays.

Cascade County reported 154 new cases Monday and now has 963 active reports. Despite the number of new cases over the weekend, Cascade County has 13 fewer active reports than Friday. The county also reported four deaths since the last available data, and now has 204 virus deaths.

Missoula County led the state with 233 new cases Monday to move to a total of 1,262.

Yellowstone County continues to lead the state in active cases with 2,066 after seeing 135 new cases Monday. However, the county saw significant recoveries over the weekend to fall in active reports by 264.

Hospitals in some of Montana’s major population centers have been overwhelmed with virus hospitalizations recently. The Billings Clinic last week received 10 National Guard soldiers to help address the situation, while hospitals in Helena, Butte, Missoula and Bozeman have put in requests for National Guard assistance.

The intensive care unit, advanced medical unit and morgue were full at St. Peter’s Health in Helena, The Associated Press reported late last week.

Officials at Benefis Health System in Great Falls told the Tribune on Friday that the hospital is operating at over 100% capacity as it has been accepting patients from other parts of Montana and other states.

Benefis Vice President of Communications and Business Development Kaci Husted told the Tribune Friday that those with serious medical issues should certainly still seek care at the hospital despite its high capacity of patients. (Click to Source)

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