St. Peter’s, county public health warn of COVID rise, encourage vaccination

Lewis and Clark Public Health and St. Peter’s Health advise county residents to be prepared for the fall and winter respiratory illness season.

In a joint news release sent Tuesday, the entities encouraged people to get the latest or newly available vaccines for RSV, flu and COVID-19, “which will be available broadly in the community at pharmacies and primary care offices.”

According to LCPH Epidemiologist Dorota Carpenedo, COVID-19 cases in Lewis and Clark County have been steadily increasing in recent months.

“In the last three months, local health care facilities reported 583 county residents diagnosed with the virus and 35 COVID-19 related hospital admissions,” the news release states. “Almost half (46%) of the cases and 63% of the hospitalizations occurred in September 2023.”

The median age was 54 years, according to LCPH.

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During the same time, a similar trend was detected in the samples taken from two wastewater treatment facilities in Helena and East Helena.

LCPH’s online COVID-19 Hub’s latest data on wastewater testing shows a spike in genomic copies of the virus per liter of East Helena wastewater in September up to nearly 50,000.

East Helena testing in mid-August showed 1,400 genomic

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