GREAT FALLS — There were two new cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) reported in Toole County on Tuesday, bringing the confirmed number to date in the county to 17.
Of those, three people have died, four have recovered so far, and one person is currently hospitalized. The Toole County Health Department in Shelby also said on Tuesday that 174 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the county. The estimated population of Toole County is about 4,900; for the town of Shelby, the county seat, the number is about 3,200.
The Marias Medical Center in Shelby said on March 26 that one of the residents of the Marias Heritage Center tested positive for COVID-19. Marias Heritage Center is a 38 apartment, state-licensed facility in Shelby. 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."
In addition, the Richland County Health Department in Sidney said on Tuesday that it has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in Richland County; the patient is identified as a man in his 40’s. On Wednesday morning, they announced a second case, a woman in her 50s. Neither patient required hospitalization. As is being done in other counties, public health officials are contacting the close contacts of the patients with information about how to proceed.
As of Tuesday (April 7), there have been a total of 319 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montana, and six deaths (source/map). There have been three deaths in Toole County, and one each in Lincoln County, Madison County, and Missoula County. There have now been 28 hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Montana, and 57 recovered patients. The DPHHS public health lab in Helena has completed 6,985 tests for COVID-19.
Governor Steve Bullock on Tuesday extended state-wide closures and restrictions through April 24; click here for details. Bullock also recommended that Montanans wear cloth face masks when they're out in public, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies. He also extended the order requiring incoming travelers to Montana to enter into a 14-day self-quarantine. Bullock said that he believes these restrictions are making an impact on attempts to "flatten the curve" across Montana, which refers to the peak time when COVID-19 cases spike and potentially overwhelm hospitals.
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