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Bozeman Health discusses federal vaccine mandate in weekly health meeting

Posted at 4:17 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 18:17:44-05

BOZEMAN - Thanksgiving is next week, which is a holiday known for gathering together with family and friends. So, what does that mean for potential COVID-19 cases?

“Whether or not we’re going to see the same precipitous increase after Thanksgiving or during these holidays is yet to be known,” said Gallatin City-County Health Officer Lori Christenson.

During the weekly meeting on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, Christenson broke down where the county currently is with COVID-19 numbers.

"You’re starting to see a little bit of a plateau, which is good," she said. "We want to continue to see this and also see a continued decline in cases. So, we saw about a 17 percent decrease from our previous week.”

After talking about Thanksgiving, the meeting quickly focused on another topic.

“Bozeman Health is required by the new Medicare condition of participation to have all employees and providers fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022,” said Callie Kujawa, System Director of Quality and Safety at Bozeman Health.

But what about state law prohibiting discrimination against vaccination status?

“We recognize the complexity with House Bill 702," said Kujawa. "However, until there is further direction from the courts, the CMS rule remains in effect and we will proceed accordingly.”

However, there may be several exceptions.

“Individuals may submit a request for a medical exemption and or a religious exemption,” Kujawa said.

And some employees already seem interested in those.

“We have given them the tools for them to get those types of exemptions, and I have heard from some of our primary care physicians that there are individuals reaching out to them asking to get that medical exemption,” Kujawa said.

As always, a recording of the full health meeting is available online.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department confirmed Friday afternoon that six more Gallatin County residents have passed away from complications due to COVID-19.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department received the official death certificates Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, and Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, that attributed the following deaths to COVID-19. A female in her 90s passed away at an assisted living facility the week of November 14. The following people passed away the week of October 31, a male in his 50s who died in a hospital, a female in her 90s who died at an independent living facility, a male in his 70s who died in a hospital outside of our jurisdiction, and a female in her 70s who died in a hospice outside of our jurisdiction. We also received a notification for an updated death certificate, that includes COVID-19, for a female in her 70s who died at her residence the week of September 26.

These latest deaths make for a total of 98 COVID-related deaths among Gallatin County residents.

There were 500 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday, Nov. 19 in Montana, with 6,669 total active cases in the state.

There were seven new reported deaths all within the last two weeks. Counties reporting additional deaths include Cascade, Glacier, Jefferson, Lincoln, Missoula (2), and Yellowstone.

The total number of deaths in Montana due to the pandemic has reached 2,547.


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