Gianforte Tests Positive for COVID-19

Republican governor was tested after experiencing mild symptoms; first lady has also tested positive

By Associated Press
Greg Gianforte in Kalispell in 2019. Beacon file photo

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and first lady Susan Gianforte have tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s office announced.

Gianforte’s office disclosed Monday evening that he had been tested after experiencing unspecified symptoms a day earlier. First lady Susan Gianforte’s positive test result came back Tuesday. She has not exhibited any symptoms, the governor’s office said.

The governor notified all of his close contacts since his last public event on Thursday. Those contacts were with a staff member, a member of his security detail, family members, and friends with whom he had dinner, spokesperson Brooke Stroyke said.

Gianforte received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Thursday and had been tested regularly since he was sworn into office in January. People aren’t considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving their second vaccine in the case of two-dose vaccines and two weeks after the vaccine in the case of one-dose vaccines, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gianforte planned to isolate for 10 days on the advice of his doctor and public health guidance. All of his in-person events have been canceled. But he will “continue to conduct his duties and manage the state’s business from his home in Bozeman,” his office said in a statement.

His staff was to be be tested for the virus Tuesday.

Since taking office in January, Gianforte has lifted a mask mandate imposed by his predecessor and eased other restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus. He has touted personal responsibility and had kept a mask mandate in place for his own office.

After receiving his vaccine Thursday, he posted a social media statement saying the vaccine was “safe effective and accessible to all Montanans 16 and older.”

He continues to encourage people to get the vaccine and take “commonsense precautions” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Stroyke said.

Montana has tallied over 105,000 positive tests for COVID-19 with at least 1,477 deaths. Montana has just under 1,000 active cases, including 262 in Gallatin County. Thirty-three people are hospitalized, according to state reports.

Montana has also administered 534,000 doses of vaccine, with just over 215,000 residents being fully immunized.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.