A sign asks people to wear a mask unless fully vaccinated at Bangtail Bikes on Friday, June 18, 2021, in downtown Bozeman.

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Not much has changed in recent weeks in Gallatin County’s fight against COVID-19, as daily cases remain in the low single digits and vaccination rates stall.

The 7-day rolling average of daily cases was 1.4 per 100,000 residents on July 1, down slightly from 1.9 the week before, according to the Gallatin City-County Health Department’s weekly surveillance report.

The county’s positivity rate is also continuing its downward trend. The 7-day rolling average of percent positive cases was 1.5% on June 29, down from 2.2% for the week before.

Health Officer Lori Christenson said during a Gallatin City-County Board of Health meeting Thursday that there were 12 active cases and two hospitalizations.

While the case counts are encouraging, vaccinations in Gallatin County have slowed.

According to the Gallatin City-County Health Department, 62% of the eligible population in the county has received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine as of June 28. Everyone 12 and older is eligible for the vaccine.

More than 52,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine, or 53% of the eligible population.

Gallatin County ranks fifth in the state for vaccination rates, behind Missoula, Silver Bow, Deer Lodge and Lewis and Clark counties, according to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The county will fall short of a goal, set in part by President Joe Biden, of reaching a 70% vaccination rate by July 4.

But Christenson noted Thursday that older age groups in the county are far exceeding the 70% threshold, while younger people are falling behind.

According to DPHHS data from June 18, the vaccination rate for those over 70 was nearing 90%, while it hovered at 34% for those ages 12-17 and was 51% for people 18-29.

The county is pursuing more mobile, pop-up style vaccination clinics in an effort to reach those who are reluctant or lax about getting a shot. Clinics are planned at the Art Walk in downtown Bozeman, at a local climbing gym and the Belgrade Community Library in the coming weeks, according to the health department’s website.

According to DPHHS information, 50 cases of COVID-19 variants, which are more transmissible strains of the virus, have been detected in Gallatin County as of June 24.

Thirty-seven were of the alpha variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, and eight were the epsilon strain, first identified in California.

As of June 24, no cases of the delta variant had been detected in the county. The delta variant was first identified in India and is highly contagious.

There were 18 reported cases of the delta variant statewide as of June 24, according to DPHHS.

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Nora Shelly can be reached at or 406-582-2607.

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