Officials plan for spring and summer amid COVID concerns

By 
Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Thursday, March 11, 2021

The COVID-19 picture in Park County for spring and summer will become much clearer in the next six to eight weeks, Park County Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick told the Local Emergency Planning Committee Thursday.

Desnick said the county is planning COVID-19 vaccinations in large numbers should more vaccines become available, and is looking at options for more vaccinators and staff for vaccine clinics.

The county doesn’t want to have to turn any vaccine doses away, Desnick said.

More than 10% of the county’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, Desnick said, and that number is going up quickly.

However, Desnick said, that’s well below the 70-80% amount needed to feel comfortable about preventing spread of COVID-19.

As of Thursday morning, the state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard was reporting 4,832 doses have been administered in Park County, with 1,637 people fully vaccinated.

According to the dashboard, there are 14,096 people in Park County eligible to be vaccinated.

Looking toward spring and summer, the Health Department is looking for a COVID-19 testing site in Gardiner to test tourist workers and travelers during the summer, Desnick said.

Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Leslie Feigel said she’s working with the Health Department to plan the town’s summer slate of events, and much more will be known about the size and scope of those events in the coming months.

The first event in that group would be the car show, Feigel said, which is scheduled for June 5.

One concern that may affect spring and summer is COVID-19 variants that are popping up. 

Desnick said a COVID-19 variant has been detected in Gallatin County, and she assumes the variant is in Park County, although it hasn’t been confirmed here yet.

Cases are higher right now than they were in the summer, Desnick said, and are kind of bouncing around.

According to the state’s COVID-19 case map, Park County has reported 1,151 total COVID-19 cases, 42 of which are active.

Statewide, there have been 101,424 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1,094 of which are active.

There have been 1,391 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Montana, 12 of which were Park County residents.

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