Third COVID death in county
December 3, 2020
Officials with the Sanders County Board of Health says it’s important that residents continue to follow guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
A third Sanders County resident died this week as a result of contracting coronavirus. As of Tuesday, the county had 36 active cases, with 217 people listed as recovered. With the three deaths, that brought the total confirmed cases in Sanders County to 256.
While the country awaits distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, John Hamilton with the Board of Health said that residents need to continue to practice social distancing and wear masks.
"Although we are all very tired of COVID-19, people in Sanders County really need people to take this seroiusly," Hamilton said. "Several vaccines are in the process of being approved but, until they are, we need to follow all the protocols in the governor's latest directive."
Hamilton went on to say that the rate of infection in Sanders County is still increasing because the county is gaining numbers even as people are recovering from the virus.
The state is tracking cases reported in schools. As of November 27, when the last weekly report was published, 15 COVID-19 cases had been reported in Sanders County schools. The state tracks students and staff who test positive. At Dixon Elementary, one staff member tested positive, two staff members and two students in Plains schools, two students at Thompson Falls Elementary, one staff member and three students at Thompson Falls High School and three staff members at Trout Creek school. Thompson Falls High School and Plains schools had reported new cases within the last 14 days.
As of Monday, Clark Fork Valley Hospital reported to the state that it was at half-capacity, with eight non-COVID patients, one COVID patient and seven beds available. The state Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) reported that 26% of critical access hospitals, like Clark Fork Valley Hospital, were near capacity or had limited bed availability, while 31% of those hospitals also had limited ICU availability. In the DPHHS report Monday, 439 were hospitalized due to COVID in Montana.
Statewide, Gov. Steve Bullock enacted new COVID-19 restrictions that began November 20. This includes limiting bars, restaurants and casinos to operating at 50% capacity, and requiring those establishments to close by 10 p.m. The governor also mandated that public gatherings be limited to 25 people when social distancing is not observed or possible and is requiring masks in all counties, regardless of case numbers. Previously, masks were required in counties with four or more active COVID cases.
Details on the number of cases in the county and statewide, as well as statistics for local schools, can be found online at dphhs.mt.gov or on the Sanders County COVID-19 Facebook page.