Ravalli County Public Health reported 13 new positive tests for COVID-19 in the valley Tuesday, with 114 active cases as of Wednesday afternoon, January 13. Director Tiffany Weber is asking for patience from the public as the county deals with a very limited supply of vaccine. She reported that Public Health has inoculated 150 people in the initial 1A and 1B phases of vaccine distribution. However, there are other providers and pharmacies in the valley who will be receiving and administering vaccines. A new Ravalli County website, currently under construction, will have links to those facilities. Weber hoped to have it up and running within days.

Statewide, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services released more information about vaccine distribution this week. In the Montana COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, as of Sunday, January 10, 5,846 Montanans had received two doses of the vaccine, while 42,085 vaccinations of at least one dose had been completed, which is about 58 percent of available doses in the state.

The state also provided a timeline of distributions for each category. About two-thirds of those in Phase 1-A have been inoculated, with 1-B vaccinations continuing into late January. Those two phases include frontline healthcare workers, long-term care and assisted living facilities, persons aged 70 and older and those with high-risk medical conditions. Again, that schedule depends on availability of vaccines.

Looking into the future, the Montana Vaccine Tracker information expects Phase 1-C vaccinations to be happening into late April. In that category are frontline essential workers, people 60 and older, people in correctional facilities, and those with elevated risks that weren't in Phases 1A or 1B.

Phase 2 is everybody else - all Montanans aged 16 and older who have not been vaccinated in the earlier phases. That is hoped to be happening by July. Those timelines are going to be updated as vaccine supplies are adjusted or if there are any further recommendations from health officials.

Ravalli County and Missoula County Public Health departments are asking the public to hold off on telephone calls about the vaccine. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands often and watch your social distancing.

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