New COVID-19 Cases in Flathead, Lake County Among Dozens Reported in Montana Over the Weekend

State health officials announced 75 new cases over a three-day period in one of the largest spikes since the pandemic began

By Tristan Scott
Medical staff package a nasal swab used for COVID-19 testing. Beacon File Photo

State health officials are reporting one of the largest spikes of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic arrived in Montana, adding 52 positive detections over a two-day period on June 19-20, including one each in Flathead and Lake counties.

Then on Monday morning, the state’s online tracker showed that 23 new cases were reported on June 21, including two in Flathead and one in Lake, giving the state a three-day total of 75.

There were 32 new cases reported on Friday, June 19, which amounts to the second-largest single-day spike since health officials began tracking the spread of coronavirus in the state. On March 26, Montana reported 35 new cases, according to the state’s COVID-19 tracker.

An additional 20 cases were reported on Saturday, followed by the 23 on Sunday, raising the total number of infected individuals statewide to 740, with 171 of those cases active.

Since entering its second phase of reopening on June 1, Montana has detected 222 new cases of COVID-19.

Transmissions of the virus have recently increased in Flathead and Lake counties, where health officials are reporting community spread and encouraging residents to continue practicing safe social distancing, wash their hands frequently, wear a mask or other face covering in public, and stay home if they feel sick.

In Flathead County, a two-month lull in new coronavirus cases was interrupted by a positive detection on June 13, and since then officials have tallied nine new cases. In that same one-week period, 134 cases have been added statewide.

At least five cases of coronavirus positively identified in Flathead County over the past week cannot be traced back to another known positive or recent travel and have therefore been identified as evidence of community spread, according to the Flathead City-County Health Department.

Meanwhile, health officials with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on June 20 reported a new confirmed positive case on the Flathead Indian Reservation, marking the fifth new case in a week. The new case is tied to that recent cluster of infections, according to Robert McDonald, a spokesperson for the Tribes.

The newly infected person shared a home with another positive case and has been in quarantine, McDonald said. Public Health officials have conducted an investigation to identify any additional contacts, and all close contacts have been notified, tested and remain in quarantine.

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