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Flathead surpasses 500 total COVID cases

by KIANNA GARDNER
Daily Inter Lake | August 26, 2020 2:20 PM

Flathead County this week surpassed 500 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since Montana’s outbreak began in March, and as of Wednesday, state and local data showed 119 of those cases are currently active.

On Tuesday, 16 positives were reported for Flathead County, which was followed by an additional 32 cases Wednesday. That brings the number of total cases to 539.

Overall, Flathead County ranked fourth in the state both for cumulative cases and for current active cases, as of Wednesday morning. Yellowstone County - an area that has been hit the hardest since the start of the pandemic - has seen the most cases at 1,864 with 847 of those being active.

Taking a closer look at Flathead County cases, a total of 621 individuals are being monitored for COVID-19, according to the Flathead City-County Health Department’s website. That number includes all cases and contacts. And on Tuesday, a total of 81 calls were placed to the nurse’s COVID-19 hotline.

Hospitalization numbers in Flathead County remain manageable at a total of 10 patients or fewer at any given time, which often include non Flathead County residents. According to statewide data, 125 individuals are currently hospitalized for the virus as of Wednesday, though these numbers fluctuate daily.

Flathead County continues to see an increase in positive cases among individuals ages 20 to 39 - a trend that has emerged throughout much of the United States. As of Wednesday, a total of 106 females and 109 males in Flathead County have tested positive for COVID-19 since the area’s first case.

During a recent phone call, interim Public Health Officer Tamalee St. James Robinson said people that fall within that age range have been particularly hard to get a hold of when performing case investigations and contact tracing. She added that younger individuals tend to congregate in large social settings more than other age groups at locations such as bars or restaurants.

As a whole, Montana has performed 238,260 tests, though these tests do not necessarily translate to unique individuals because there are people who have been tested multiple times. According to Montana’s COVID-19 Task Force, the state has seen a total of 6,785 cases since the start of the outbreak and of those, nearly 5,000 have recovered, about 1,700 are active and 98 individuals have died.

The state updates these numbers daily around 10 a.m. and they can be found on the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website. Flathead County also updates their local numbers and additional insights Monday through Friday around 1 p.m. or so in the afternoon. That data can be found on the Flathead City-County Health Department’s website.

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4407 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com