COVID-19 related hospitalizations reported
News from the Montana DPHHS
MONTANA — State health officials said the trend of hospitalizations in Montana connected to unvaccinated COVID-19 patients has remained constant over the past several months.
Specifically, Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Adam Meier said that COVID‐19 related hospitalization data from the past eight weeks, from June 5 to July 30, shows that 89 percent of Montanans who were hospitalized had not received the COVID-19 vaccine. The data includes 358 hospitalizations of Montanans during this time frame. The hospitalizations included an age range from 1 to 97, with a median age of 64.
DPHHS also reports the average daily number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has slowly started to trend upward to the current average of 95 people. This includes a 44 percent increase from the week ending July 23 to the week ending July 30.
For context, last November, the average daily COVID hospitalizations were 427 people, which was the month with the highest reported COVID cases and hospitalizations.
DPHHS also reports the trend of new COVID-19 positive cases continues to increase. For the week ending June 25, there were 359 cases reported and for the week ending July 30 there were 1,180 cases reported statewide.
“This data illustrates just how effective the COVID-19 vaccine is in preventing serious illness when you consider how far we’ve come since the vaccine first became available,” Meier said. “The data is also a reminder of how important it is to get vaccinated. This is now a vaccine-preventable disease, and the last thing we want to see are more cases and hospitalizations. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. The fall and winter months are just around the corner. Now is the time to get the vaccine.”
On a positive note, DPHHS officials also say the number of individuals receiving their first vaccine dose has started to steadily increase over the past several weeks, after declining in June and the first part of July. For example, for the week ending July 23 to the week ending July 30, there was an 18 percent increase in individuals receiving their first dose administration. “This is an encouraging sign to see that more people are deciding to get vaccinated, and I hope this trend continues in the coming weeks,” Meier said.
In Montana, the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available. As of Aug. 5, over 900,000 doses have been administered, and over 445,000 Montanans are fully vaccinated. This is 48 percent of the eligible population. Montana’s current vaccination rate mirrors the rest of the country. For vaccine information, Montanans are encouraged to go to covidvaccine.mt.gov.
DPHHS also continues to report Montana’s current vaccine uptake report by age group and county. Meier is encouraged that about 74 percent of Montanans age 60 and over (those most vulnerable) are fully vaccinated.
DPHHS acting State Medical Director Maggie Cook-Shimanek said while Montana has done well to vaccinate those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, it’s important for all eligible people to get the vaccine. “While we know the older population and those with underlying medical conditions have required hospitalization more often from COVID-19, it’s important for all individuals to get the vaccine to limit the spread in Montana,” Cook-Shimanek said. “As it spreads, the virus replicates and creates new variants, which have the potential to increase transmission and cause more infections. That has been the case with the Delta variant in recent months. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep you and your family safe.