According to a report released by the White House on September. 20, Montana is now in the red zone for COVID-19 cases. The report lists Montana as 18th highest in the country for new cases per 100,000 people.

Yellowstone County, Rosebud County, and Cascade County had the highest number of new cases over the last three weeks. Those counties represent 46.9% of new cases in Montana.

Bozeman (Montana State University) and Missoula (University of Montana) have had increases in cases and test positivity, which suggests increasing transmission. 27% of all counties in Montana have moderate or high levels of community transmission (yellow, orange, or red zones), with 9% having high levels of community transmission (red zone)

Montana had 105 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week. The national average is 86 per 100,000.

Between Sept. 12-18, on average, 16 patients with confirmed COVID-19 and 20 patients with suspected COVID-19 were as newly admitted each day to hospitals in Montana. An average of 82% of hospitals reported either new confirmed or new suspected COVID patients each day during the period. According to the report, the numbers may be an underestimate of the actual total number of COVID-related hospitalizations. Underreporting may lead to a lower allocation of critical supplies.

The White House also included a list of recommendations for Montana. One of the recommendations was to consider fines for violation of face mask mandates in high transmission communities throughout Montana. Currently, there are no fines in place for violating mask mandates, but wearing a mask to prevent transmission is highly recommended.

NBC Montana released a summary of the report sent by the White House.

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