RiverStone Health entrance (fall)

BILLINGS — On Monday, RiverStone Health reported the death of two more Yellowstone County women due to COVID-19.

A woman in her 50s died on Sept. 10 and a woman in her 40s died on Sept. 13, according to a release from RiverStone Health. Neither women were vaccinated and both had underlying medical problems.

The county's pandemic death toll now sits at 306 people since April 2020.

Also on Monday, Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare had 19 more COVID-19 patients than they did on Friday.

COVID hospitalizations Sept. 13

The hospitals reported 124 inpatients with COVID-19 illness on Monday. Thirty-six of the 124 were in ICU and 24 were on ventilators. RiverStone Health reports only 16 had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Friday, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported 138 active COVID-19 cases statewide in 36 nursing homes and 206 active cases in 38 assisted living facilities. In Yellowstone County, a dozen long-term care facilities were restricting visitors – as required by federal regulations – because of active COVID-19 cases in staff or residents.

“This tragic news of more deaths again confirms the importance of vaccination,” John Felton, Yellowstone County health officer and RiverStone Health CEO and president, said. “Please get vaccinated to save lives and to reduce the overwhelming COVID-19 demands on our healthcare system.”

RiverStone Health is offering free first and second doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to everyone age 12 and older. The two-dose Moderna vaccine is available to people age 18 and older as is the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Third doses will be given only to immune-compromised people only at the walk-in clinics. RiverStone Health has scheduled a free, walk-in clinic for Thursday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at 123 S. 27th St., in the four-story building.

To make appointments for first and second vaccine doses with the RiverStone Health Immunization Clinic, you ca call 406-247-3382. More vaccination information is available at covid.riverstonehealth.org.

The Food and Drug Administration will hold a meeting on Friday, Sept. 17, to discuss “booster” COVID-19 vaccinations. RiverStone Health says planning is underway for community vaccination clinics if and when booster vaccinations become available to the general population.

The FDA is also expected to meet in the near future about COVID-19 vaccinations for those younger than 12 years of age. Until vaccinations for this group are approved, the FDA urges parents not to prematurely vaccinate their children.