COVID in the county
Omicron confirmed in Gallatin County, likely to affect Madison County soon
Montana’s COVID-19 tracking database was reporting 1,723 active cases as of Dec. 20. It’s likely the lowest we’ll be seeing that number for a while, said Madison County Public Health Director Emilie Sayler, citing a Dec. 20 press release from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services that confirmed two positive cases of the Omicron variant in two fully vaccinated Gallatin County residents in their 30s who had recently returned from South Africa. Their symptoms were reported as mild.
Given that the sample taken from the travelers was likely gathered a week ago, and recognizing Gallatin County neighbors Madison County, Sayler said she wouldn’t be surprised if this “incredibly infectious” variant is already circulating in Madison County.
The good news, said Sayler, is that Omicron may be more infectious, but its symptoms are milder than those attributed to the Delta variant.
“I don’t think it’s anything to be incredibly alarmed over, there’s no reason to panic or change our habits,” said Sayler, recommending folks maintain good hand washing practices, don’t pay elders a visit if you’re not feeling well, and to practice selective socialization. If you’re experiencing cold-like symptoms, get tested, and stay home until results are received.
Anticipating fewer testing opportunities due to the holidays, the MCPHD has obtained at home covid tests which are available at their office outside of Virginia City. The department’s hope is that residents use the kits to screen themselves before family gatherings.
Montana is the 46th state to confirm the Omicron variant, and judging from how quickly its spread in areas where it’s had time to do so, Sayler said she would expect to see a similar surge in Montana in the coming weeks.
According to Montana Response Covid-19 dashboard data, current as of Dec. 21 at 10 a.m.:
Active cases: 12/14: 2,601 12/20: 1,723
Cumulative cases: 12/14: 193,905 12/20: 194,929
Active hospitalizations: 12/14: 164 12/20: 126
New cases in 24 hours: 12/14: 196 12/20: 159
Deaths: 12/14: 2,830 12/20: 2,878
Montanans fully immunized*: 12/14: 529,903 12/20: 534,646
Eligible population fully vaccinated*: 12/14: 52% 12/20: 52%
Active cases: 12/14: 16 12/20: 21
Deaths: 12/14: 20 12/20: 20
Cumulative cases: 12/14: 1,410 12/20: 1,423
County residents fully immunized*: 12/14: 3,785
Eligible population fully vaccinated*: 12/14: 44% 12/20: 45%
*Does not include booster shot