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Possible COVID-19 case at Malmstrom AFB found to be negative

Malmstrom Air Force Base
Posted at 11:50 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 14:00:25-04

GREAT FALLS — Officials at Malmstrom Air Force Base announced on Monday that a possible case of COVID-19 has been confirmed to be negative.

Last week, Malmstrom submitted a test of an airman's spouse identified as a possible case of COVID-19 to the state lab in Helena. The test results came back negative on Friday evening, confirming that this was not a case of coronavirus.

“I am very excited for the spouse and family whose test results came back negative for COVID-19,” said Colonel Jennifer Reeves, the commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom, in a news release. “I am also encouraged that we are taking appropriate and necessary precautions to reduce risk to the base and local population and maintain our capability to generate combat power.” Malmstrom declared a "public health emergency" last week in response to coronavirus; click here for details.

As of Monday, March 16, DPHHS has tested a total of 204 people for COVID-19; six of those results have been positive. 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. DPPHS says that COVID-19 testing is available 7 days a week; for information about testing, call 1-800-821-7284. Here is the information that has been publicly released about the six patients:

  • Missoula County: woman in her 30s
  • Missoula County: man in his 50s
  • Gallatin County: man in his 40s; recovering at home; acquired through international travel
  • Yellowstone County: woman in her 50s; recovering at home; rcquired through international travel
  • Silver Bow County: man in his 50s; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
  • Broadwater County: a man in his 50s who sought care in Lewis and Clark County; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state

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.

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

  • 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,
  • 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.