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Montana adds 1,280 COVID-19 cases; 600 deaths statewide
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Montana adds 1,280 COVID-19 cases; 600 deaths statewide

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Montana ended the week with 1,280 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, and 33 more of its residents have died due to the respiratory virus, according to the state’s tracking and mapping website.

The number of active cases in the state dropped to 15,241 in the past day, but the additional deaths bring the state’s total to 600. The site relies on information provided by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the start of November, 224 Montana residents have died because of the virus. Of Montana’s 56 counties, only seven have yet to record a COVID-19 death, according to the state’s website. To date, 54,542 residents have contracted the virus, 2,336 of whom have ended up in the hospital.

During the past week, the United States surpassed 250,000 deaths due to COVID-19, according to data reported by Johns Hopkins University. More Americans have died from the virus than twice the number of U.S. service members killed in every conflict since the Korean War. Nearly 12 million people have tested positive for the virus since it first reached the United States, with more than 1 million new cases in the past seven days.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force ranked North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana as having the highest death rates in the nation per 100,000 in its latest report to governors.

The most recent restrictions from Gov. Steve Bullock’s office went into effect Friday, limiting bars, restaurants, casinos, breweries and distilleries throughout the state to 50% capacity. The new restrictions come as Montana has averaged about 1,260 new cases a day for the past week and reported record-level active cases during that time.

Yellowstone County, where County Health Officer John Felton enacted similar restrictions on all places of public assembly, leads the state in deaths and active cases. The county tallied 3,418 active cases, according to the state’s latest update, and 112 residents having died due to COVID-19.

In the latest snapshot of the status of Montana’s hospitals, both the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Health Care reported being at 70% capacity or more. As of Friday, St. Vincent Health Care reported every one of its beds filled with patients being treated for COVID-19 and otherwise. Yellowstone County serves as the medical hub for a region that spans Southeastern Montana, Northern Wyoming and the Western Dakotas.

Six of Montana 10 large hospitals reported having limited availability for patients, or reaching their total capacity. As of Saturday, 474 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment.

A total of 38,701 Montana residents have recovered from the virus, meeting the standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an individual to safely leave isolation after testing positive. The Billings Gazette has previously reported that about 10% of those infected with COVID-19 can continue to experience symptoms weeks and even months after contracting the virus. 

The state added 6,827 more tests for COVID-19, according to Saturday’s update, to bring its total to 608,502.

The state's mapping and tracking website can often fall behind on reporting the latest data from individual counties. For the most accurate information on active cases and health restrictions, the DPHHS has a list of local health departments. 

Counties added the following number of cases in Saturday’s update:

  • Yellowstone County added 172 cases (3,418 active)
  • Flathead County added 157 cases (1,998 active)
  • Gallatin County added 153 cases (913 active)
  • Missoula County added 137 cases (1,664 active)
  • Lewis and Clark County added 116 cases (843 active)
  • Ravalli County added 91 cases (545 active)
  • Silver Bow County added 74 cases (673 active)
  • Dawson County added 46 cases (127 active)
  • Cascade County added 41 cases (1,963 active)
  • Fergus County added 29 cases (250 active)
  • Park County added 21 cases (224 active)
  • Carbon County added 20 cases (90 active)
  • Stillwater County added 20 cases (91 active)
  • Jefferson County added 18 cases (104 active)
  • Madison County added 16 cases (76 active)
  • Roosevelt County added 16 cases (183 active)
  • Big Horn County added 13 cases (189 active)
  • Hill County added 13 cases (144 active)
  • Musselshell County added 11 cases (68 active)
  • Chouteau County added 10 cases (60 active)
  • Beaverhead County added nine cases (86 active)
  • Custer County added nine cases (175 active)
  • Lincoln County added nine cases (234 active)
  • Sheridan County added nine cases (34 active)
  • Pondera County added eight cases (55 active)
  • Broadwater County added seven cases (35 active)
  • Fallon County added six cases (45 active)
  • Granite County added six cases (29 active)
  • Phillips County added five cases (31 active)
  • Blaine County added four cases (49 active)
  • McCone County added four cases (eight active)
  • Sanders County added four cases (29 active)
  • Teton County added four cases (28 active)
  • Valley County added four cases (69 active)
  • Wheatland County added four cases (27 active)
  • Glacier County added three cases (25 active)
  • Carter County added two cases (12 active)
  • Golden Valley County added two cases (11 active)
  • Mineral County added two cases (18 active)
  • Deer Lodge County added one case (71 active)
  • Judith Basin County added one case (31 active)
  • Lake County added one case (151 active)
  • Petroleum County added one case (four active)
  • Rosebud County added one case (46 active)

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