News & Features

Big Horn County Man Dies of COVID-19

The second phase of Montana's economic reopening began on Monday

HELENA – A southeastern Montana man in his 60s has died from COVID-19, the Big Horn County health department said Friday.

The state announced two new cases of COVID-19 from more than 1,200 tests that were performed on Thursday. Both involve men in their 50s from Lewis and Clark County, which had not had a new case in eight weeks.

Officials suspect one of the men contracted the disease from someone in Idaho and the other contracted it from a resident of another Montana county, county health officer Drenda Niemann told the Independent Record.

In Gallatin County, health officer Matt Kelley said the eight new cases confirmed Wednesday were an indication of community spread but did not qualify as a reason to reimpose any restrictions on businesses or people’s activities.

“It is reasonable to expect this trend to continue as Yellowstone National Park opens and more people come to the county from all over the nation,” he said Thursday, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

Public health agencies in both counties say they’re focusing on identifying cases and tracing the people they have been in contact with to limit the spread of the virus.

The second phase of Montana’s economic reopening began on Monday, with increased capacity for bars and restaurants permitted and a 14-day quarantine requirement lifted for out-of-state visitors.

Montana has had 541 total cases of COVID-19 since March and 53 of those cases are still active, meaning the people are still infected, including 26 cases in Big Horn County. Eighteen people have died and 470 have recovered, state health officials said. One person remained hospitalized.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.