The second damning report regarding COVID 19 for Montana in one week from the financial website Wallet Hub was published on Thursday.

KGVO News spoke with Wallet Hub analyst Jill Gonzalez who said Montana is the worst in the nation for COVID hospitalizations.

“Right now Montana has the third highest positive testing rate, and actually the highest hospitalization rate in the country,” said Gonzalez. “That’s 14 times higher than Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Vermont, and those are the scary numbers. I would say hospitalizations and deaths in Montana are doing the best either.”

When it comes to safety, again Gonzalez said Montana is near the bottom for the entire country.

“Unfortunately for the last couple of weeks, Montana ranks as the 4th least safe state to be in during this phase of COVID-19,” she said. “That's across five different metrics. So that's the rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalization and death, as well as the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated.”

Gonzalez said she hopes that state leaders are watching and listening and will take steps to improve Montana’s health and safety.

“In a lot of states, these numbers are trending in very positive ways,” she said. In fact, to be a state where we don't see that positive trend, and then to be one on the bottom side of the list, obviously something's got to change, and to be the bottom in hospitalizations I think is the scariest. So something has to change and to be done whether its awareness or accessibility for getting people vaccinated.”

Being a financial website, Gonzalez said Wallet Hub is primarily focused on economic issues, but an unhealthy state can’t grow economically.

“For the overall economy and getting the economy back on track safety is also essential,” she said. “Right now at the beginning of the fourth quarter, we're going to see the prime shopping season of the year. People want to feel safe to be able to go out and spend money and give back to local business and local communities.”

Wallet Hub says the good news is that the U.S. is picking up speed with vaccination, as around 57% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 12.

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