Brendan House Reports 12 Residents Have Died Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Fifty-four residents of long-term care facility have contracted virus in last month; only two cases remain active

By Beacon Staff
Brendan House at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. Beacon File Photo

The month-long and widespread COVID-19 outbreak at Brendan House, a long-term care facility operated by Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH), has claimed the lives of 12 residents as of Monday.

Fifty-four residents of the 110-bed facility have tested positive for COVID-19 since the first four cases were discovered early last month, along with an undisclosed number of staff members. According to a KRH website monitoring the outbreak, only two resident cases are active as of Monday, and those residents are isolated while receiving care.

The facility is also continuing to conduct weekly surveillance testing of staff members, with the most recent staff positive discovered as recently as Dec. 5. Staff members who test positive are immediately quarantined outside the facility per Flathead City-County Health Department guidelines.

The county health department announced five new deaths related to COVID-19 on Monday, all of which were associated with an unnamed long-term care facility, but it is unclear to what extent the deaths at the Brendan House are represented in county data due to reporting lags between deaths and confirmation by the health department. Flathead County has reported a spike in deaths in the last three weeks, with 17 fatalities recorded from Nov. 20 to Dec. 7.

The first cases at the Brendan House were confirmed during weekly surveillance testing on Nov. 4. The COVID-positive 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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