BOZEMAN — Gallatin City-County Health Officer Lori Christensen and Tracy Ellig of MSU provided an update on COVID on Friday, urging the community to remain vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as cases in the county are slowly rising.
On Monday, July 26, Gallatin City-County Health Department reported 24 new COVID cases - the highest new case count in two months. As of Wednesday, July 28 total active cases have risen to 83 in the county, with six people currently hospitalized.
The health department reports a 50% increase in active cases from July 17 when it reported 35 active cases. Additionally, vaccination data indicates that only 55% of Gallatin County residents are fully vaccinated, and 97% of hospitalizations from April 1 to July 9 have been unvaccinated.
The federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday it has updated its guidance for fully-vaccinated individuals given the available evidence on the Delta variant currently circulating in the United States.
In addition to other updates, the CDC added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people - as well as their existing recommendation for unvaccinated people - to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with “substantial or high transmission.”
This new guidance categorizes areas of substantial or high transmission based on cases per 100,000 in the last seven days.
According to CDC criteria, Gallatin County is considered to currently have substantial transmission.
Christenson said, “It is important to note that based on local epidemiology and sequential level of transmission described on the CDC’s website, Gallatin County could quickly move between moderate, substantial, or high. Based on the size of our population, just one or two cases per day could move us up or down on the current scale.”
She added, “Instead of focusing on day-to-day movement between categories, it is important to understand we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in our community. Every layer of protection counts right now, and that means pulling out those masks and wearing them in public indoor places regardless of your vaccination status especially when Gallatin County is in the substantial or high transmission category. Given where we stand currently, and what we are trying to prevent in the future, I anticipate the recommendation to wear a mask to remain until we see case numbers drop again.”
Children ages 2 to 11 are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine at this time and should wear masks and be reminded of the importance of good handwashing practices.
Click here for more details on the Healthy Gallatin website (PDF).