CCHD provides update on coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Cascade County

Trisha Gardner, the CCHD health officer
Posted at 11:23 AM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 13:04:29-04

GREAT FALLS — On Saturday evening, the City-County Health Department in Great Falls confirmed three cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Cascade County, bringing the total number of cases in Montana to at least 30.

The CCHD said during a Sunday morning news conference that the three patients are a man in his 50s, a woman in her 50s, and a woman in her 20s, and said that all three recently engaged in international travel. They became symptomatic after flying. They did not fly in to the Great Falls International Airport, and self-quarantined in their home as soon as they arrived in Cascade County.

Trisha Gardner, the CCHD health officer, said that anyone the three were in contact with has been notified and advised to self-isolate for 14 days, and have been asked to check their temperature twice daily and to notify the CCHD if they become symptomatic

Gardner said they will not release any other details about the patients in order to maintain their privacy and comply with HIPAA rules. They said that the patients are free to self-identify if they want to.

She said the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by following standard personal hygiene protocols, such as frequent and thorough hand-washing, and by following "social distancing" protocols by avoiding social gatherings. Other prevention recommendations:

  • Stay home if you’re sick,
  • Avoid contact with sick people when possible,
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact.

Other counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19 include: Yellowstone, Missoula, Gallatin, Flathead, Lewis & Clark, Butte-Silver Bow, Broadwater, Roosevelt, Ravalli, and Madison.

Officials in Montana are keeping a list of confirmed cases in the Treasure State on an updated map and website - click here to visit the site.

A spokesman for the Montana COVID-19 Task Force says that positive test results for Montana residents who are currently outside the state will not be included in the totals reported on the website, and said: "The state recognizes that its reporting totals will differ from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) total as a result of these reporting processes." Experts still believe the true number of people infected with COVID-19 remains much higher than the number of confirmed cases.