Covid in the county
Vaccines for ages 5-11 in the works as case numbers decline
J ust 32 active cases of Covid-19 were being reported in Madison County by the State of Montana’s official coronavirus tracking system on the morning of Nov. 2. It’s a number on the decline, mirroring what’s being seen across the state.
Madison County Public Health Director Emilie Sayler provided the Madison County Board of Commissioners with their weekly virus-related update on Tuesday.
Five Madison County residents were hospitalized as of the start of November; 99 county residents have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic.
Statewide, cumulative active cases were down to 9,528 as of Nov. 2. Sayler explained that number has been dropping by 1,000 a week the past few weeks.
“Which is really good news,” said Sayler, who participates in a weekly call with the state’s epidemiologist who had predicted a downward trend in cases in coming weeks, “It looks like that might be the case.”
The number of covid-related deaths in the county had long rested at eight individuals – this number has risen to 11, and Sayler said she expects to add one more individual to that list once documentation is secured.
Statewide, 2,266 Montanans have died from complications related to the virus as of Nov. 2.
On the vaccination front, 55% of eligible Montanans, 12 years and older, have been fully vaccinated. In Madison County that number sits at 47%. Fifty-one percent of eligible individuals have received at least a first dose.
In the midst of the FDA’s authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for younger populations, Sayler confirmed that the county’s health department is in the process of expanding vaccination offerings to five to 11-year-olds. The ages 5-11 vaccine will be packaged and dosed differently than before, so there will be a delay in initial procurement. In addition, the county does not actively offer Pfizer for any age.
“There is a potential that we could bring it in through public health or through our local healthcare facilities if there’s the demand, and we can meet the packaging and storage needs,” Sayler told commissioners.
However, the county’s health department is currently unable to administer vaccines of any kind, as the MCPHD nurse position remains vacant. That’s not to say there are no local options available: both county hospitals as well as upcoming mobile vaccination clinics are available for not only Covid-19 vaccines and boosters but also jabs for the flu, pneumonia, shingles and T-dap.