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Fallon County has fifteen positive cases of COVID-19, as of Oct. 6, according to the county health department.

It is not alone.

The entire state of Montana has been hit with a wave of positives, turning the Treasure State into a pandemic hot spot.

The state has reported record numbers of COVID-19 cases, with the latest being Oct. 7, with 733 cases. That broke the previous record of 504 set on Oct. 6 and pushed the state into the more than 16,000 cases.

That means the number of active cases in the state has more than doubled in the last two weeks, according to state officials. Two weeks ago, the state reported 2,335 as active cases.

According to officials, there have been 2,276 cases reported since Oct. 1. In contrast, the state only reached 500 cases in June.

The state has had slightly more than 10,000 people recover from the virus, while just under 5,000 are still classified as active.

According to the state, 42 of the state’s 56 counties are now falling under the mask guidelines set by Gov. Steve Bullock earlier in the year.

Fallon County has an average daily positive case level of 2.3 with an 82 per 100,000 population in the small rural county. Its trend for cases over the past 14 days has been a dramatic increase.

According to the state, Fallon County has had a total of 24 active cases this year, with nine recovered and no confirmed deaths.

By comparison, neighboring Carter County has an average daily case load of 0.4 and 34 per 100,000 population. Its 14-day trend is dropping from earlier highs. It has had a confirmed case total of nine this year with one recovered and eight still listed as active.

Powder River County has an average daily case rate of 2.1 while 127 per 100,000 population. In that county, the 14-day trend is on a slight descent after an earlier dramatic climb.

To the north, Dawson County has an average of 2.2 daily positive cases and is at 25 per 100,000 population. Its 14-day trend is on the increase again after dropping to very low levels a week ago.

Custer County to the west has 1.3 average daily positive cases and is at 12 per 100,000 population and is continuing a long descent over the past two weeks.

Along the eastern edge of the state, Richland County has had 141 confirmed cases this year, with two deaths, 71 recovered and 68 still listed as active.

Yellowstone hardest hit

In the state, Yellowstone County has had the most impact with 3,691 confirmed cases this year and 69 deaths. There are 2,601 listed as recovered, while 1,021 are still listed as active.

According to public health officials in Yellowstone County, the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases has put a strain on local resources. Over the previous three weeks have averaged more than 30 daily COVID infections with a high of 36 infections per day over the past week.

That has prompted health officials to say that if the daily infection rate reaches 40 in the final week of October, there will be a more restrictive public health order issued in early November. If it hits 50 daily COVID-19 infects, the public health response will be immediate, according to officials at a press conference Monday.  The new restrictions would include group gatherings being limited to just 25 people, regardless of social distancing.

It would also limit capacity to just 25 percent in restaurants, bars, casinos and churches.

The impact also elevated one Billings area medical facility to be elevated to red status on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.

According to state officials, 45 percent of the 96 people hospitalized  in the county are residents of the county. Twenty-eight are in intensive care and 19 were on ventilators, as of Monday.

Flathead County has had 1,511 confirmed cases, 19 deaths and 646 listed as recovered. It has 846 active cases listed on the state’s COVID-19 response site.

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