Officials with the Flathead City-County Health Department on Saturday reported a new local case of COVID-19, while tribal leaders with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) confirmed four new cases on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
The Flathead County case marks the first local detection of COVID-19 in more than two months, and health officials made the announcement on the same day Montana added 15 new cases statewide.
According to Flathead health officials, they received notice of the case via the Department of Public Health and Human services (DPHHS); however, the Flathead case was not included in the statewide totals on Saturday.
The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Flathead is over the age of 60 and has no recent travel history, Flathead City-County Health Department Health Officer Hillary Hanson said. The case is currently under investigation and all close contacts of the case will be notified.
“We want to remind Flathead County residents of the presence of COVID-19 in our community,” Hanson said. “With businesses reopening, it is important that everyone continues to do their part to prevent the spread. We must continue working together to protect our most vulnerable neighbors.”
Since COVID-19 first began showing up in Montana in March, state infection tallies have climbed above 500 and resulted in 18 deaths. Currently, the state reports 60 active cases and seven hospitalizations.
On Friday, the Lake County-CSKT Unified Command Center (UCC), along with tribal health officials, confirmed that three previously presumptive positive COVID-19 cases are positive. On top of the initial three, confirmation came from Montana DPHHS of a fourth case on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
According to a press release from UCC, a clear line of direct transmission has been identified linking all four cases. Public health nurses are working with the positive patients and their close contacts to ensure that everyone is tested and quarantined.
“At this time, everyone who was determined a close contact to the four confirmed cases has been notified, interviewed and is undergoing testing,” according to the release.