The latest report from Missoula City County Health Department COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr covers a wide range of topics regarding the pandemic.

Farr began by detailing the impact of the pandemic on Missoula hospitals.

“Missoula ICUs have been full for the past three months, according to our local doctors,” said Farr. “This means that even individuals with non COVID issues may not get the same kind of care that they would have otherwise, if we had less COVID patients in our hospitals. Local doctors continue to urge residents to get vaccinated so we can end this pandemic and alleviate pressure on the hospital system. We do currently have the Montana National Guard helping out where they can in our hospitals but they're not able to provide direct patient care. So we really need everyone to get vaccinated and take other precautions to reduce COVID in our community, and try and slow the spread.”

Farr said there have been a higher number of deaths reported here in Missoula recently.

“We have had 32 deaths in the first 25 days of October,” she said. “We had 19 deaths for the whole month of September. “We're seeing more deaths this fall than at any other point during the pandemic, so just as a reminder, COVID vaccines do greatly reduce the risk of severe hospitalization and death from the virus.”

Farr again explained the process of death reporting from COVID.

“I know that we've gotten a lot of questions lately about death reporting,” she said. “So just to be clear, on the death certificate, the physician fills out exactly what caused the death as well as any contributing or underlying factors that led to the death. For example, in most cases of a COVID-19 death, the cause is acute respiratory distress syndrome, and the contributing factor is the COVID-19 virus. Other underlying factors are also listed, so if they had cancer or COPD, it is listed as an underlying condition but not the primary thing that caused the death.”

Farr also said that monoclonal antibody treatments will eventually become available in Missoula County, but the treatment has its limitations.

“While we're thankful that there will be monoclonal antibody treatments coming to Missoula in the hopefully soon future, we do want to set the record straight on this treatment,” she said. “A person does need to have COVID-19 before they can actually get treated with monoclonal antibodies and there's a very limited window of time in which the treatment can be effective. Because of that we're really urging the public to practice prevention and get vaccinated instead. “Preventative treatment is always better than the need to actually treat an illness.”

View Farr’s entire report here.

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

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