Health Department Confirms Five More COVID-Related Deaths

December is Flathead County’s deadliest month of pandemic; virus has killed 56 county residents this year

By Andy Viano
The Flathead City-County Health Department building as pictured on Sept. 23, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Flathead City-County Health Department announced Tuesday that it has confirmed five more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 56 and making December the county’s deadliest month since the pandemic began.

The department released no identifying information on the victims other than to note that three of the deaths were connected to two long-term care facilities.

“We send our condolences to all family and friends impacted by these deaths,” Health Officer Joe Russell said in a press release. “This holiday season, we urge all individuals to follow public health guidelines — keep your holiday gatherings small, wear a mask and stay home when you don’t feel well. These small actions can save the lives of our most vulnerable community members.”

The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Flathead County has been on the decline recently but the virus has now taken 17 lives in December, more than any other month. Twelve people died in November, when the virus was its most widespread with 3,570 cases reported, an average of 119 per day. Flathead County confirmed 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and is averaging 80 new infections per day this month.

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