HELENA — A 13th person has died because of a COVID-19 outbreak at a memory care facility in Billings, the Yellowstone County health department reported Tuesday.
The woman in her 90s died Monday at Canyon Creek Memory Care, county health officials said. Forty people have died in Montana due to COVID-19 and 49 remain hospitalized, state officials said.
“I am running out of words to express the sadness and tragedy that these deaths have created in our organization and our community,” said Yellowstone County health officer John Felton.
He encouraged people to take precautions like wearing masks not because authorities ask them to “but to honor these residents and their families that their deaths not be in vain.”
Montana reported 97 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Tuesday, raising the state’s total known number of cases since the pandemic began to over 2,700. The number of infections is thought to be much higher because many people have not been tested.
The Yellowstone County health department has hired 25 temporary workers in the past 10 days to help with contact tracing as the county deals with the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the state, The BIllings Gazette reports.
Yellowstone County has more than 470 people known to be infected with the respiratory virus and has had 18 deaths.
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.