GREAT FALLS, Mont. - After a challenging few months Cascade County's COVID-19 numbers show a promising trend.
After recording more than 1,300 active COVID-19 cases back in September, Cascade County is seeing case numbers drop and vaccine numbers go up.
Today the county reports 1,127 active COVID cases with 49% of the population now vaccinated.
Back in August, Malmstrom Air Force Base announced all service members will be required to get vaccinated and health officials say this requirement could benefit community case trends moving forward.
"We are seeing their population; they are getting far better vaccination rates throughout those places and are not seeing as many cases. They’re still seeing some cases, it'll still be a process until they get all of their staff done, but overtime that should affect our community as a whole," said Health Officer Trisha Gardner.
Although “active cases” have gone down the “average case rate per day” has increased but Gardner says there's a reason for this.
"It's possible by the time they get tested and we get that report, they're coming to the end of their isolation period. So, they may come on as a case but quickly drop off as an active case."
Over the last few weeks Great Falls Public Schools has seen a decline in positive cases but in order to lift COVID restrictions there's one thing they have to focus on.
"We need to see at least a week with those numbers well below 100 before we consider lifting the mask requirement that we put in place," said GFPS Superintendent Tom Moore.
Despite COVID-19 cases across the nation flattening states like Montana, Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota, they are still considered hotspots.
Originally, the counties' goal was to get 70% of the population vaccinated but health officials are now pushing for 80%.