COVID-19 UPDATE

The Richland County Health Department has announced 24 additional cases of

COVID-19 in a Richland County resident, the release of 19 cases for the period of Dec. 15-21, 2021. The department also announced three additional confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The deaths occurred in a female in her 90’s; a male in his 80’s, and a female in her 70’s.

The additional cases and deaths bring the total case count to 2,061 with 2,003 cases recovered and 30 total deaths. There are currently 28 active cases in Richland County.

A breakdown of the new cases by age show: 0-9 years old — 5, 10-19 years old — 1, 20-29 years old — 6, 30-39 years old — 4, 40-49 years old — 4, 50-59 years old — 2, 60-69 years old — 2.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials have also detected the Omicron variant through testing of positive COVID-19 samples from two Montana residents in their 30s. According to the report, the two residents had traveled to South Africa.

The individuals, who had mild symptoms that are improving, are self-isolating and have been since returning to Montana. They are residents of Gallatin County and were fully vaccinated.

“This is not a surprise as nearly every other state has reported Omicron cases in recent weeks,” DPHHS Director Adam Meier said. “We continue to urge all Montanans to use all available tools to stay healthy this winter, including getting your COVID-19 vaccine and booster and taking other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Montana is the 46th state with a confirmed COVID-19 case caused by the Omicron variant.

Despite the detection of Omicron, Delta remains the predominant strain in the United States and in Montana. “The concern right now for public health officials is that other states in the U.S. are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, which are primarily the Delta variant,” said Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek, acting State Medical Officer at DPHHS. “Given this activity around the country, it’s important that we exercise caution and take proven steps to prevent disease and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 here in Montana.”

To that end, DPHHS encourages all Montanans to take the following steps to protect themselves from becoming infected with COVID-19, including variants like Omicron:

Get vaccinated and if eligible get a booster. To find a vaccine near you, visit covidvaccine.mt.gov.

Eligible Montanans who haven’t gotten vaccinated and still have questions, should consult with their healthcare provider.

Take steps to help prevent the spread of the virus such as using face masks, physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

Get tested for COVID-19 when you feel sick or have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus.

Stay home when you are sick.

For more information on the Omicron variant visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html.

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