New details about Ravalli County "cluster outbreak" of COVID-19

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Ravalli County adds 6 positive cases of COVID-19
Posted at 4:49 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 18:55:20-04

MISSOULA — Managers of the Stock Farm Club are thanking Ravalli County health officials for a quick response after eight of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Stock Farm Club CEO Steve Buck told MTN News the cases came to light when one employee of the housing and golf development located several miles east of Hamilton wasn't feeling well last week.

Buck says the Club contacted the Ravalli County Health Department for guidance and that resulted in tests which confirmed the first case, and found the additional cases that were reported at the beginning of this week.

He explains some of the employees were long-time workers who had been with the organization for more than 20 years. Buck says the initial employee that tested positive was hospitalized and was expected to be released into self-isolation today (Friday). The other seven remain in isolation.

“The safety of our employees, our members and residents, and our community is our top priority,” Buck said. “We are very thankful for the immediate and thorough response of our County’s healthcare professionals. This virus can be caught anywhere and by anyone and we urge everyone to follow Ravalli County Health Department and CDC guidelines.”

What is the Stock Farm Club? From the Stock Farm Club website:

  • Thank you for visiting the Stock Farm website to learn more about our phenomenal private club located in the heart of the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana. Nestled in the hills above the city of Hamilton, is a masterpiece that evolved from the vision of Charles Schwab and his passion for golf, shooting and fly-fishing. Golf Course architect and designer, Tom Fazio, calls Stock Farm Club “The Augusta of the West.” Celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2019, Stock Farm Club boasts one of the longest outdoor seasons in Montana, with golf available to play from April through November. Some of the country’s best skiing is easily accessible in all directions from the club. World-class fly-fishing throughout the Bitterroot Valley and Montana make this a destination spot for all levels of anglers. A guided trip down the Bitterroot River makes for unforgettable memories.

Buck notes the Stock Farm Club has exceeded all of Montana’s directives and safety protocols from their initial activation and is continuing to work with the Ravalli County Health Department to "ensure the safety of employees, members and our community."

(MAY 19, 2020) Ravalli County Public Health reported on Tuesday that six of nine pending tests have been confirmed by the state lab as positive for COVID-19.

There are still three tests pending connected to this investigation.

The individuals are all male. Four of them are in the 10-20 age range with the other two in their 60’s. These seven new cases are being classified as a cluster outbreak, meaning they were all together. The seventh case was confirmed over the weekend for a man between the age of 50 and 60.

In total, Ravalli County has now seen 12 positive cases, seven of which are active.

Early investigation indicates that travel played a role in their infection. The first case is currently hospitalized and the other six patients are isolated at home.

The agency said in a Facebook post:

  • Public health has been conducting interviews and have identified all individuals that had any risk of exposure. They have all been extremely cooperative. We understand the communities need for information but are obligated to protect the identities and health information of these individuals. We do not seek to punish or judge anyone unfortunate enough to contract the virus. COVID does not discriminate. Individuals sick or exposed are asked to comply with control measures to protect the health of our community. Their safety is a priority to public health. Without their cooperation we would be unable to interrupt the cycle of transmission. Our numbers are low because of their sacrifices. We are so grateful to the people of this county that take personal responsibility for the health and safety of us all.

Ravalli County Public Health continues to investigate and to date have placed more than 30 identified contacts in quarantine.