HELENA – Montana’s lieutenant governor has put himself in quarantine after he attended a meeting in which one of the participants later tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney was at a Board of Regents meeting March 5 in Dillon when he came in contact with the person from Silver Bow County who had the virus, said Marissa Perry, a spokeswoman for Gov. Steve Bullock.
“Lt. Governor Cooney has tested negative for COVID-19 and has been asymptomatic. The Lt. Governor is in self-quarantine until March 20, which is 14 days after his point of exposure,” Perry said in a statement.
The Helena Independent Record reported that Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian was at the meeting with Cooney and has the virus.
“As a public official who interacts with many people on a day-to-day basis, it’s absolutely critical that I share these results and notify those I have come in contact with,” Christian said in a news release.
Earlier Saturday, Bullock said there are two more cases of the virus in the state. The cases are a woman in her 30s and a man in his 50s in Missoula County.
On Friday, Bullock announced that Montana has its first four cases of patients with the virus. The patients with the virus are a man in his 40s from Galatin; a woman in her 50s from Yellowstone; a man in his 50s from Silver Bow; and a man in his 50s from Lewis and Clark, Bullock said in a statement.
Until Friday’s announcement, Montana was one of only a handful of states where there are no cases.
The announcement of the cases came the day after Bullock declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the coronovirus spreading to Montana. The executive order allows the governor to access $16 million in state emergency funds and take other measures to respond once the pandemic reaches the state.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. In older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
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