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2 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Flathead County on Friday

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 21:23:11-04

MISSOULA — The Flathead City-County Health Department announced on Friday afternoon that it has confirmed two positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Flathead County.

The patients are a man in his 50s who is not a resident of Flathead County; the second is a man in his 30s. Both men recently engaged in domestic out-of-state travel, according to the Health Department.

This brings the total number of cases in Montana to 19.

A spokesperson for Kalispell Regional Healthcare said that one of these patients is a healthcare worker who had traveled and came back to work at KRH. Once KRH became aware of the situation, they immediately tested two other people and contacted the Flathead City-County Health Department who is now on site. KRH does not have the results of some of the other tests at this time.

The spokesperson said that situation caused some of the KRH employees to be exposed to COVID-19 and, as such, they expect that there could be other positives.

“We believe this exposure to be limited and localized, however, we intend to use an abundance of caution. We are currently doing all the surveillance, interventions and containment strategies that we have been preparing for weeks,” says KRH Chief Medical Officer Doug Nelson, M.D. “No one wants to hear news of a new virus in their community, however, the community should be reassured that KRH has been working diligently for a long time to prepare for this.”

KRH says that more details will be released on Saturday.

As of Friday (March 20) there are now 19 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the state of Montana. Yellowstone County has five reported cases, Missoula has four, Gallatin has at least three, Flathead County has two, and the following counties have one: Butte-Silver Bow, Broadwater, Roosevelt, Madison, and Lewis & Clark.

As of Thursday evening, the public health lab in Helena has completed 947 tests for coronavirus (COVID-19).

We will update you as we get more information.