At a RiverStone Health press conference this past Monday (11/9), Yellowstone County health officer John Felton announced the extension of the Health Officer Order through December 9, and also left the door open for more restrictions possible "later this week."

Following a delay in testing results from the Montana Public Health Lab that have now returned, RiverStone Health has announced that "no further COVID-19 restrictions" would be planned for this week.

But, according to the press release, Felton said that more restrictions could still be implemented if the COVID-19 infections begin to increase.

Because we saw some improvement last week, in both test positivity and new case rate, we are not enacting any additional restrictions. The situation is still very serious and if things go backwards, we might have to do so in the future. -John Felton, RiverStone Health CEO and Yellowstone Co. Health Officer

Current stats showed infections rates for all age groups under the age of 60 "decreased slightly" in Yellowstone County, dropping from 92 per 100,000 two weeks ago, to 79 per 100,000 last week. Any rate above 25 is a dangerous level of community infection, according to the RiverStone Health press release.

The Unified Health Command Medical - Technical Team includes representatives from St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings Clinic, and RiverStone Health. The team plans to wait one more week for additional information to come in before "recommending next steps" in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Yellowstone County.

Our hospitals continue to be overwhelmed according to the report, with the number of patients being hospitalized "at the highest levels" since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For the first 10 days of November, an average of 124 people a day were hospitalized in the two acute care hospitals in Yellowstone County.  Further, an average of 30 people were in an intensive care unit and 22 of them were on ventilators during the first ten days of the month. -RiverStone Health

Yellowstone County residents are being urged to follow basic virus prevention measures, which include:

  • Keep your distance from others,
  • wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly and often,
  • wear a cloth face covering in public and at work when around others,
  • work from home when possible, and stay home when you are sick.

More COVID-19 stats for Yellowstone County can be found on the RiverStone Health dashboard by clicking HERE.

KEEP READING: See states hit hardest by COVID-19’s impact on tourism

More From Montana Talks