THE LOCAL NEWS OF THE MADISON VALLEY, RUBY VALLEY AND SURROUNDING AREAS

On March 16, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced COVID-19 vaccinations would be available to all Montanans 16 and older by April 1. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Teachers getting vaccinated, variants in the county

Madison County COVID & Vaccination Update

As of March 23, Madison County reported four positive coronavirus cases. Three active cases were reported on Tuesday and one on Monday.

Madison Valley Manor in Ennis, Mont. reports no residents or staff in quarantine. An indoor visitation booth and outdoor visitation booth are being used. At Tobacco Root Mountains Care Center in Sheridan, Mont., eight residents have recovered, and one staff member is quarantined. The facility is out of outbreak status, and indoor and outdoor visitation booths are being used.

At Madison County Public Health Department’s quarterly meeting on March 16, county schools provided reports on district vaccination numbers. Emilie Sayler, CPHA, public information officer for Ruby Valley Medical Center, explained that Safeway Pharmacy representatives came to the Ruby Valley to provide vaccinations for teachers through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

A vaccination clinic was offered for Sheridan School District staff and volunteers on March 12 and 20 first-doses were administered, according to Superintendent Mike Wetherbee.

Pam Birkeland, Madison County superintendent, reported that one teacher received their first shot in the Alder School District.

Fred Hofman, Harrison School District superintendent, provided that six staff members in the Harrison School District received their first shot.

Superintendent Thad Kaiser reported that 12 Twin Bridges School District staff members received their first vaccination.

Whitney Marsh, Ennis School District nurse, said approximately 25-30 teachers, bus drivers and staff members got their first shot as well.

On March 16, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be available to all Montanans by April 1.

“A few months ago, projections estimated Montanans 16 and older would be eligible for the vaccine as late as mid-July. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’re moving up the timeline,” Gov. Gianforte said. “All Montanans 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 1.”

Montana is currently in Phase 1B+, which lowered the eligible age from 70 to 60 years old, and included conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and liver disease. Madison County residents in this category may contact the Ruby Valley Medical Center or the Madison Valley Medical Center to get an appointment scheduled or be put on the waitlist.

On March 17, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) provided an update on COVID-19 variants in the state, confirming a total of 19 COVID-19 variants in Montana.

Eleven cases match two California variants and a New York variant strain. These eleven cases are from Beaverhead, Cascade, Glacier, Hill, Jefferson, Phillips, Roosevelt, Silver Bow, Valley and Madison Counties. Specimens from residents were submitted for testing between Jan.-March 2021. The remaining eight variants found match the United Kingdom variant and were confirmed in Gallatin County.

DPPHS provided a map of confirmed variant strains in the state online.

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