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Gallatin County sees concerning spike in COVID-19 cases

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By Mira Brody EBS STAFF

BOZEMAN – As of Friday, Sept. 25, Gallatin County has 30 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, for a cumulative total of 1,361, according to a Gallatin City-County Health Department press release. There are 134 confirmed active cases and three current hospitalizations. There have been a total of 1,223 people recovered in Gallatin County. Four people have died from COVID-19 complications.

In a Sept. 25 press conference, GCCHD Health Officer Matt Kelley addressed the spike in cases across the state as well as Gallatin County in particular. As of EBS press time more than 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. As a comparison, the U.S. sees about 36,000 fatalities each year due to traffic accidents.

In Montana, 140 people are battling the virus in hospitals currently, and the state is seeing an average of three deaths per day.

“We’re seeing a pretty significant rise in cases across the West,” Kelley said. “I think we reported 30 cases [in Gallatin County] today, and that’s not an aberration anymore, that’s a pattern.”

The graph above shows the number of active cases by age group. Right now the 20-29 age group, as well as those on the higher end of 10-19 are seeing a significant spike. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GALLATIN CITY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The health department recently made moves to increase their contact tracing staff and implement new software, made possible through state funding and their partnership with Montana State University. The good news is, that testing turnaround seems to be holding steady—most tests are being returned in one to two days, which is crucial, Kelley says, as we enter influenza season.

Kelley noted that this is the third spike Gallatin County has seen since the beginning of the pandemic, and this time most cases are concentrated in individuals between the ages of 20-29. He expects these spikes to be cyclical moving forward.

Positive cases have so far been confirmed at three elementary or high schools within Gallatin County. Both Bozeman High School and Belgrade High School as well as Emily Dickenson Elementary School have reported positive COVID-19 test results.

In addition to the usual guidelines—staying six feet apart, wearing face coverings and quarantining if you’re sick—Kelley says it is important to be kind as we deal with these spikes and the unknowns that come with them. “Find ways to listen and treat others with grace and understanding,” he said.

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