KALISPELL — COVID-19 cases are again on the rise in Flathead County as the highly contagious Delta Variant surges.
“More than 90% of our patients who are hospitalized are unvaccinated,” Logan Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Doug Nelson tells MTN News.
A steep incline in COVID-19 cases, and a cause for major concern.
Dr. Nelson said a high number of unvaccinated residents in Flathead County are catching and spreading the virus at a high rate. As of Tuesday, Flathead County reported 624 active cases of COVID-19 while only 40% of the eligible population is fully immunized.
“The virus mutates over time and results in variants that may become less infectious or less dangerous but maybe become more infectious and more dangerous -- and the Delta variant is an example of that,” said Dr. Nelson.
He added Logan Health has seen a steady increase in hospitalizations over the summer.
“We certainly are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations, really we went from one or two patients in the hospital a month or two ago to having consistently 20 to 25 patients in the hospital each day,” said Dr. Nelson.
Dr. Nelson said his staff is worried about large gatherings becoming super spreader events for the Delta Variant, including the upcoming Northwest Montana Fair in Kalispell starting next week.
“We’re concerned about that, we’re making plans to try to accommodate that sort of additional demand, no question about it that’s a concern for us,” added Dr. Nelson.
He said the safest way residents can protect themselves, their friends, and family from COVID-19 is to become fully vaccinated against the virus.
“In terms of people who’ve been fully immunized against COVID-19 in the United States, they have more than a 99.99% chance of not needing to be hospitalized and not dying from COVID-19,” said Dr. Nelson.
Dr. Nelson said Logan Health’s Emergency Department has seen a record number of patients this summer and he's asking those with minor illnesses or injuries to consider receiving care from a number of different walk-in clinics throughout the Flathead Valley.