HELENA — Montana health officials announced two additional deaths due to COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 57.
Two Big Horn County men in their 60s died after contracting the respiratory virus, the county health department reported. One had been hospitalized prior to his death on Wednesday. The other man died Thursday morning, the department said.
Thirty-four people have died from COVID-19 in Montana since July 6, including 13 in the past seven days.
The state reported 138 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, for a total of 3,814 since the pandemic began. The number of infections is thought to be much higher because many people have not been tested.
Over 2,200 people in Montana are considered to have recovered from the virus while just over 1,500 are known to still be infected. Sixty-nine people in the state were reported hospitalized Thursday morning, an increase of 10 from the previous day.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.
In news about the economic fallout from the coronavirus, Montana applications for unemployment assistance declined during the week ending on July 25, according to the U.S. Employment and Training Administration.
The number of applications fell to 2,365, a decrease of 13.5% from the number of applications submitted the previous week and an increase of 377% from the number of applications submitted the same week last year.
The Montana Department of Labor & Industry said that more than 42,000 unemployment insurance payments totaling over $41 million were issued during the same week. This marked the final week of $600 in extra weekly federal unemployment payments for recipients, the department said.
Since March 14, the state has processed 131,557 claims for unemployment. That represents 28.8% of the total workforce of Montana that is eligible for the unemployment insurance program.