MISSOULA — Missoula County set three new COVID-19 records on Monday as the recent surge of cases continues.
The Missoula City-County Health Department (MCCHD) reports new highs have been set for COVID-19 hospitalizations, active cases, and incidence rates.
This marks the second week in a row that Missoula County has seen record-high numbers related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 50 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Missoula County on Monday. A total of 1,386 active cases were reported and the average daily new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days reached a new height of 89.
Health officials say this latest surge is showing no signs of slowing down.
“This is the absolute worst we have seen it since the pandemic started,” explained COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr. "We cannot continue in this direction for the safety of the community.”
Health officials are continuing to urge residents to become vaccinated against COVID-19.
"The data are clear and the data show this latest wave is hitting communities with low vaccination levels. We’re proud that Missoula County has the highest vaccination rate in the state of Montana, but in the grand scheme of things, the vaccination rate is nowhere near a level that would be considered herd immunity,” said Health Officer D’Shane Barnett.
Health officials say herd immunity would be upwards of 75% of all residents getting vaccinated.
MCCHD notes that in addition to getting vaccinated, residents should wear a mask in public, wash their hands and keep their social circles small.
“We cannot get past this pandemic if it continues to be about pro-vaccine people versus antivaccine people,” Barnett said. You either want to see this virus win or you want to see our community win. We can and will beat this if enough people get vaccinated.”
The Montana COVID-19 tracking website shows a total of 12,515 cases have been confirmed in Missoula County to date, including 11,137 recoveries and 116 deaths.
A total of 67,383 people -- 64% of the eligible population in Missoula County are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.