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For several weeks, COVID-19 cases have been steadily declining in Gallatin County.

This week’s 19% decrease in the seven-day rolling average is the fourth consecutive week that the county has seen fewer cases.

The seven-day rolling average of cases per 100,000 residents was 27.4, a decrease from 33.9 the week before, according to the Gallatin City-County Health Department’s weekly COVID-19 report.

The county’s percent positive rate — which health officials use to monitor the levels of community transmission in the county and indicates if enough testing is being done — declined from 9.5% last week to 7.9%.

As of Friday, Gallatin County had 206 active cases, compared to 316 last week and 441 a month ago.

To date, 103 Gallatin County residents have died due to complications from COVID-19.

Statewide, case counts have also been on a steady decline. As of Friday, Montana had 2,827 active cases. That’s compared to about 7,700 cases four weeks ago.

To date, 2,821 Montanans have died of complications related to COVID-19. On Friday, 174 people were in a hospital for COVID-19 complications.

With case counts declining, the rate of people who have gotten one or more dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is increasing.

About 51% of Montanans were fully vaccinated as of Friday, according to state data. Of the 110,900 eligible residents in Gallatin County — everyone 5 years or older — about 59% were fully vaccinated.

Vaccination rates in children and young adults still continue to be lower when compared to older adults. People aged 18 to 29 are about 53% fully vaccinated while children aged 12 to 17 are 43% fully vaccinated.

Older age groups are seeing vaccination rates above 60%. For those over the age of 60, the proportion of people fully vaccinated is above 80%.

Children aged 5 to 11, who have been eligible to receive a Pfizer vaccine since early November, have the lowest rate of vaccination.

About 11% are considered fully vaccinated, while 23% have received a first dose.

Gallatin County has the fourth highest vaccination rate of counties in Montana, ranking behind Missoula, Deer Lodge and Silver Bow counties.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department said Friday it would begin to administer booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds at vaccination clinics at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved and issued guidance for the third shots on Thursday.

More information on vaccination clinics or to schedule an appointment be found online at healthygallatin.org/covid-19-vaccines or by calling the local COVID-19 hotline at 548-0123.

Another resource to find vaccination providers and schedule appointments can be found online at vaccines.gov or by calling the national hotline at 1-800-232-0233.

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Juliana Sukut can be reached at 582-2630 or jsukut@dailychronicle.com

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