Eleven COVID-19 Deaths Reported in Flathead County Since July

County also broke its single-day pandemic record with 42 active hospitalizations on Tuesday

By Myers Reece
Staff prepare COVID-19 vaccines for veterans at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell on Feb. 3, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Five people in Flathead County have died due to COVID-19 so far in August, on the heels of six deaths in July, bringing the county’s total pandemic death toll to 116.

The age ranges of the August deceased were 60s, 70s, 80s (two deaths) and 90s, according to the Flathead City-County Health Department.

The state of Montana has added 41 COVID-19 deaths this month, including 33 deaths that have occurred in August and eight that occurred in July but weren’t reported until August. The state has had 1,749 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.

Flathead County also reported Tuesday its highest single-day count of active COVID-19 hospitalizations at 42, breaking the previous pandemic record of 39 set on Nov. 30, according to local health department data.

Logan Health Medical Center was treating 37 of the 42 patients Tuesday, meaning COVID-19 patients filled 30% of the hospital’s 126 available adult acute-care beds, amid a summer when the hospital is grappling with record-breaking emergency department visits.

Adult acute care includes the emergency department, ICU, medical and surgical units, and oncology. North Valley Hospital has also been caring for COVID-19 patients.

Thirty-seven of the Aug. 17 hospitalizations were Flathead County residents, while five were out-of-county residents. Statewide active hospitalizations surpassed 200 this week for the first time since January.

The combination of COVID-19 hospitalizations and skyrocketing emergency department visits led to Logan Health exceeding its adult acute-care capacity on multiple days last week. The hospital is evaluating contingency plans to expand into other parts of the health system if the local COVID-19 surge continues to worsen.

“We’re all concerned about what’s happening with the current surge,” Dr. Doug Nelson, Logan Health’s chief medical officer, said on Monday. “None of us knows the future, but I think it’s very likely that we haven’t reached the peak of this surge yet. We’re monitoring the situation literally on an hourly basis regarding which of our contingency plans we might need to initiate.”

As of this morning, Montana has 3,067 active COVID-19 cases statewide. Flathead County leads the state with 580 active cases.

Since the pandemic began, Montana has recorded 121,382 total cases, 6,090 hospitalizations and 116,566 recoveries, according to official state data. Flathead County has reported 13,898 total cases.

More than 1.5 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Montana altogether.

Forty-nine percent of the state’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated, totaling 453,218 Montanans. There have been 921,019 total doses administered.