Montana sees 23rd virus death, 45 new cases reported

The reported cases brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases statewide to 1,128

By Associated Press

HELENA— Montana health officials reported 45 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and counted the 23rd death related to the coronavirus.

A woman in her 60s in Big Horn County died of complications due to COVID-19 after being hospitalized, according to county officials. This marks the fourth death related to the virus in the county.

Yellowstone County officials reported 23 new cases on Friday. Nearly a dozen were diagnosed in the staff and residents of seven different assisted care facilities in the county, according to Health Officer John Felton.

The county issued a temporary order prohibiting visitation to assisted care facilities, with an exception for compassionate visitation at the end of life. All visitors are required to wear a mask, and workers are “strongly recommended” to do so.

Felton attributed other case clusters to workplaces and large gatherings. Between 100 and 200 close contacts of confirmed cases in the county have been ordered to complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

“We expect that the large daily case counts will continue for the next few weeks,” Felton said.

The state’s case count is 1,128. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Seventeen people are hospitalized and 678 have reportedly recovered.

Gov. Steve Bullock urged residents on Thursday to wear a mask and practice social distancing while in public, but stopped short of issuing a statewide mandate.

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.

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