Sixth COVID-19 death reported in Toole County

Posted at 10:16 AM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 12:18:27-04

GREAT FALLS — Officials in Shelby announced on Wednesday that there has been a sixth COVID-19 death in Toole County.

The Toole County Public Health Department says the patient was a man in his 70s.

The agency said in a news release: "Our deepest condolences go out to all the families affected by this virus. At this time, there are six active cases in Toole County, all of which consist of close contact transmission within local congregate settings. All close contacts with these cases have been placed on quarantine and are only released from quarantine when they meet the CDC recommended protocols for ending quarantine. However, as many of you know, it is possible for carriers of the virus to be asymptomatic, and therefore spread the virus unknowingly. Due to this, please continue to follow the Governor’s directives for shelter in place. As a county and a state, we are getting closer every day to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Please remain patient and vigilant so we can overcome this together."

To date, there have been 29 confirmed cases in Toole County, and 17 patients are listed as recovered. There is currently one patient hospitalized due to COVID-19.

On a per-capita basis, Toole County has been hit harder than any other county in Montana by the COVID-19 pandemic. All Toole County cases continue to consist of close contact, healthcare-related transmission. Marias Medical Center in Shelby said on March 26 that one of the residents of the Marias Heritage Center (a 38-apartment, state-licensed facility in Shelby) tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, they said that some of the positive COVID-19 tests are from Marias Heritage Center employees. They also said: "This situation also exposed others to COVID-19 and, as such, we expect there could be other positives."

On Tuesday, a pilot conducted an "honor flight" over the town of Shelby to honor the Toole County residents who have died.