Six Deaths Reported Due to COVID-19 Outbreak at Brendan House

Fifty-four residents of KRH long-term facility have tested positive, in addition to staff

By Myers Reece
Brendan House at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. Beacon File Photo

Six residents of Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s Brendan House have died due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the 110-bed long-term care facility, while 54 residents have tested positive for the disease altogether, as of Nov. 22.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of the Brendan House deaths were included in the Flathead City-County Health Department’s recent confirmation of three additional deaths in the county, or when all of the facility’s deaths will be officially registered, given the reporting lags between death and county confirmation.

The residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 are isolated in the Brendan House and are “being closely monitored and receiving appropriate care,” according to Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH).

The hospital said in an update that employee surveillance testing resulted in additional positive staff members on Nov. 18, although the total number of infected employees was not provided. KRH stated that positive staff members are immediately quarantined and remain “out of the facility until approved for return to work by the Flathead City-County Health Department and Employee Health Services.”

The first cases at the Brendan House were confirmed during weekly surveillance testing on Nov. 4. The residents were immediately isolated, and those who may have had contact with any of the positive residents were tested and closely monitored.

Hospital officials then learned on Nov. 6 that additional residents tested positive for COVID-19, and the number increased after additional testing over the weekend. By Nov. 9, 40 residents had tested positive, a number that has grown to 54 following subsequent testing.

The cases mark the first positive detections at Brendan House since the pandemic began.

“While our team has worked diligently to protect our most vulnerable, with no COVID positive Brendan House residents since we closed our doors to outside visitors in March, we unfortunately could not escape the surge of COVID-19 in the Flathead that continues to impact our community,” KRH Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Mellody Sharpton said in a statement after the earliest cases were confirmed.

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