Missoula City County Health Department COVID 19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr provided the latest video update on the pandemic on Thursday afternoon, and said there were a number of hospitalizations and deaths reported in the previous week.

“Today (Thursday), hospitalizations in Missoula again broke the record with 58 hospitalizations,” said Farr. “The hospitals continue to ask residents to be responsible and get vaccinated to alleviate pressure on their system. The vast majority of those that are hospitalized are unvaccinated. The hospitals are getting National Guard support to help with the situation however the National Guard is largely helping clean rooms and other tests that don't directly involve patient care, so they're still having some staffing concerns.”

Farr then stated the number of deaths in the previous week.

“We've recently seen an uptick in the number of people who are dying from COVID-19,” she said. “From Tuesday the 21st to Tuesday the 28th, we had 11 residents pass away from the virus. About half of those were middle aged residents and the other half were older adults. Deaths in the past three months have far outpaced deaths from the rest of the pandemic before that. This is showing us that the Delta Variant is indeed not only more contagious, but also deadlier than the original strain that we were seeing last year.”

Farr said COVID 19 booster vaccines are now available.

“Our vaccine clinic at Southgate Mall is now providing Pfizer boosters to certain residents,” she said. “Residents must have been previously vaccinated with Pfizer and there are no exceptions to that, and they must be at least six months out from their second dose. They must also meet the following qualifications: age 65 and older and residents of long term care facilities, ages 18 and over, ages 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, or ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure because of their occupational setting.”

Farr then announced that approval is near for providing COVID 19 vaccines for even younger children.

“It's expected that Pfizer vaccine will be approved in five to 11 year-olds in the coming weeks,” she said. “Parents, we are strongly encouraging you to use legitimate information and talk to a pediatrician when it comes to making health decisions for your child. We're sadly already seeing a lot of misinformation online about vaccines for this age group despite trials showing that they are perfectly safe. We strongly encourage parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as the CDC approves a vaccine for that age group.”

View Farr’s full video update here.

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