Missoula County death toll climbs to 21, with 32 active hospitalizations

Montana’s death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic climbed to 386 on Monday and will likely reach 400 by the weekend given the current rate of infection.

The Missoula City-County Health Department on Monday reported two more local deaths, bringing the county’s toll to 21. Both victims were men, one over the age of 70 and the other between 40 and 69.

“We are deeply saddened to report that two additional COVID-related deaths occurred over the weekend,” the health department said in a statement. “We send our thoughts and condolences to those families, friends and community members most impacted by these losses.”

The number of coronavirus cases in Missoula surged over the weekend, with 145 reported between Friday and Monday. It brings the number of active cases in the county to 721, a figure that once marked the total number of active cases in the entire state.

Local health officials reported more than 1,335 close contacts and 32 active hospitalizations.

Montana also reported 757 new cases of the virus on Monday and 386 active hospitalizations. Since the pandemic arrived in March, more than 34,200 people have become infected.

Also on Monday, the Montana Department of Commerce said workers who have lost income due to the virus may be eligible for rental or mortgage assistance from the state’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program.

Those who are eligible may receive payments made direct to landlords or mortgage service providers. The amount ranges from 25% of a household’s reduced monthly income, up to $2,000 a month. Those who receive other forms of housing assistance are not eligible and the deadline closes Nov. 10.

“This program has helped many Montana families and individuals with the ability to stay in their own homes without worry of evictions or foreclosures. We encourage Montanans who need Emergency Housing Assistance to start their applications and apply as soon as possible.” Commerce Director Tara Rice said.