Virus takes five more lives in Montana as state reaches grim milestone

Montana achieved a grim milestone on Tuesday when health officials announced the death of five individuals due to Covid-19, pushing the number of fatalities to 51.

The daily toll was the highest for the state yet during the pandemic.

The five deaths came from Yellowstone, Gallatin, Lincoln and Custer county health officials.

“With over 50 deaths in the state now, these losses continue to weigh heavily on our hearts,” said Gov. Steve Bullock. “While our seniors and immuno-compromised individuals remain the most vulnerable, even otherwise healthy Montanans experience life-altering – and sometimes deadly – outcomes when they face this virus.”

Across the state, more than 1,320 cases remain active and 62 individuals are currently being hospitalized. Billings leads the state in its number of active cases, which now stand at 499. The number of active cases in Missoula increased to 62.

Four individuals are being hospitalized in Missoula County.

“We continue seeing Covid on the rise across the state and in our counties,” said Cindy Farr, who said timely test results continue to be a challenge

“We’re waiting on 24 results from July 9, 10 and 13 together, and more than a couple hundred from the remaining dates between July 14 – 22. We hope that once we get through the backlog, we’ll get back to getting those test results within 72 hours.”