Health officials with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on Thursday reported three new preliminary positive COVID-19 cases on the Flathead Indian Reservation, one of which has since been confirmed by the state lab, bringing Lake County’s total caseload to six.
According to Robert McDonald of the Unified Command Center, which includes Lake County and tribal officials, state public health nurses are working with the patients and their families to identify individuals at risk of potential exposure.
Meanwhile, both tribal and county officials are awaiting confirmation from the state lab on the two pending cases.
According to McDonald, the confirmed case involves a Lake County resident, though officials are still investigating how the individual contracted the virus.
The new cases come as CSKT leaders prepare to launch an expansive four-day testing event next week, which McDonald billed as the largest testing event in Montana to date. He said the Tribes coordinated with state and Lake County officials, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to coordinate the testing effort.
“I think these new presumptive positive cases have come at a time that they really alert people to the lingering dangers of COVID-19 just as residents are falling into a false sense of security and a sense of complacency,” McDonald said.
The free testing clinic runs June 17-20 at the following times and locations: June 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Celebration Grounds in Arlee; June 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo; June 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Polson High School in Polson; June 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Celebration Grounds in Elmo.
For more information on the state’s testing and COVID-19 response, visit covid19.mt.gov.