HELENA — Montana health officials reported 556 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, continuing a decline in daily reported cases of the virus.
The state tallied under 3,877 coronavirus cases in the last seven days, down from 4,745 cases in the preceding week.
Daily case tallies peaked in mid-November and have been gradually declining since then. Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock previously attributed the decline to new restrictions that went into place Nov. 20, which expanded an existing mask mandate to the entire state and required bars and casinos to close by 10 p.m.
“Montana has made progress over the past few weeks in reducing the number of new positive cases and hospitalizations after a worrisome peak in mid-November that led to hospitals at or nearing capacity,” Bullock said in a statement on Tuesday, urging Montana residents to remain vigilant.
Bullock endorsed on Tuesday guidance for medical providers and staff in the event of scarce medical supplies, space and staff because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals in the state reached peak occupancy in November. More than 200 contracted health care workers were hired by the state and deployed in Montana’s hospitals this month.
Almost 78,000 people across the state have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since March. The true number is likely far higher because not everyone is tested and some people can be infected without showing symptoms.
The state has reported 895 deaths because of the virus. More than 150 of those deaths were reported in the last two weeks.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for some — especially older adults and people with health problems — it can cause more severe illness and death.
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