Two People Test Positive for Coronavirus in Missoula County

At least six people in Montana have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours

By Justin Franz
A sign in the front window of Brendan House nursing home at Kalispell Regional Healthcare on March 13, 2020. As of March 13, Brendan House is restricting all visitors as a precautionary measure to protect residents from novel coronavirus. Hunter D'Antouno | Flathead Beacon

Two people in Missoula County are believed to have tested positive for coronavirus, Gov. Steve Bullock announced Saturday evening.

The results are considered “presumptive” until confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The announcement comes just a day after Bullock announced that four other people across the state had tested positive for the virus that has swept the globe in recent weeks.

The Missoula County patients were listed as a female in her 30s and a male in his 50s. Both people have been isolated and will be monitored for the next 14 days. Meanwhile, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Missoula City-County Health Department will conduct an investigation to learn the two individuals’ travel history and identify anyone they may have been in close contact with.

Earlier on Saturday, during a press conference, Bullock said that the four people who tested positive for the virus on Friday were isolated and recovering. The four people included a male in his 40s in Gallatin County, a female in her 50s in Yellowstone County, a male in his 50s in Silver Bow County and a man in his 50s from Broadwater County. Officials initially reported the Broadwater County man as being from Lewis and Clark County but later clarified that he had sought treatment in Lewis and Clark County.

On Saturday, state officials announced that all four people who tested positive had all recently traveled and likely got the virus out of state.

State officials have urged people to practice social distancing and be vigilant by washing their hands and staying home if sick.

“Plan and prepare but do not panic,” Bullock said.

On Thursday, Bullock declared a state of emergency in Montana to direct a coordinated response to COVID-19 and mobilize all available state resources including emergency funds or personnel from the National Guard. It also allows the governor to take additional steps as warranted.

To bolster the state’s response to the coronavirus situation, Bullock launched a Coronavirus Task Force on March 3 to coordinate efforts across state government. The Task Force, led by Adjutant General Matthew Quinn, is now providing ways state residents can ask questions related to the coronavirus situation in Montana.

A coronavirus (COVID-19) information phone line at 1-888-333-0461 has been launched and Montanans can also email questions to State public health officials will be responding to inquiries from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Montanans can also visit to receive regularly updated information on COVID-19.

According to CDC, the elderly and people who have severe chronic medical conditions seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have a serious illness. Reported illnesses in the US have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

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