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Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in Missoula County; total in Montana is now six

Coronavirus and COVID-19
Posted at 9:17 PM, Mar 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 06:52:07-04

Governor Steve Bullock on Saturday said in a news release that two presumptively positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, have been confirmed in Missoula County.

  • A woman in her 30s
  • A man in his 50s

No other information about the two patients have been released at this point. The tests, conducted by the DPHHS Public Health Laboratory, were confirmed Saturday evening. As is current standard, test results are considered presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The two Missoula County cases announced on Saturday bring the total number of cases of COVID-19 in Montana to six (see note below), after four were announced on Friday. There were four positive cases announced on Friday in the counties of Gallatin, Yellowstone, Silver Bow, and Broadwater.

  • The Gallatin patient is a man in his 40s; recovering at home; acquired through international travel
  • The Yellowstone patient is a woman in her 50s; recovering at home; rcquired through international travel
  • The Silver Bow patient is a man in his 50s; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
  • The Broadwater patient is a man in his 50s who sought care in Lewis and Clark County; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state

The patients have been isolated in accordance with public health guidelines. People who came into close contact with them will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance. Public health officials are following up to learn more details about the two individual’s exposure risk, travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients.

The City-County Health Department in Great Falls said on Saturday that all the COVID-19 tests that Cascade County sent to the state lab as of Friday, March 13, have come back negative. At this time, there are NO confirmed cases in Cascade County.

NOTE: In addition to the six confirmed cases actually IN Montana, there is a seventh Montanan confirmed to have COVID-19. That person, from Lake County, is a part time Montana resident with no documented exposures or close contacts in Montana, and was not tested in Montana. She was tested and diagnosed in Maryland, where she currently is residing.

The CDC has three levels to classify a potential case of COVID-19:

  1. Person Under Investigation (PUI): Any person who is under investigation for having the virus that causes COVID-19, or who was under investigation but tested negative for the virus.
  2. Presumptive Positive case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus, but testing was conducted at the local or state level. Currently, presumptive positive cases must have samples undergo confirmatory testing at the CDC.
  3. Laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus at the CDC laboratory.

As of Saturday, DPHHS has tested a total of 166 people for COVID-19. The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 850 more people, and anticipates receiving more tests from the CDC as needed. Click here to visit the DPHHS website.

Dozens of public events have been canceled or postponed in Great Falls and across the state; click here for details.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, you can take the following steps to protect yourself and your family.

  • 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.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), as of March 14, there are 1,629 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the nation. There have been 41 deaths, most of them in Washington. Click here for the latest information about COVID-19 at the CDC website.