Four "presumptively positive" cases of COVID-19 in Montana

Posted at 7:07 PM, Mar 13, 2020

Governor Steve Bullock on Friday evening said that there are four "presumptively positive" cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Montana.

Bullock said in a press release that the four cases are:

  • Gallatin County: man in his 40s.
  • Yellowstone County: woman in her 50s
  • Silver Bow County: man in his 50s
  • Broadwater County: man in his 50s.

The tests, conducted by the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services' Public Health Laboratory, were confirmed Friday evening. Test results are considered presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The patients will be isolated pursuant to public health guidelines. Those who came into close contact with the individuals will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance. DPHHS and all involved county health departments are following up to learn more details about the four patient's exposure risk and travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients.

No other information on the four patients - including their current medical condition - has been released at this point.

The CDC has three levels to classify a potential case of COVID-19:

  1. Person Under Investigation (PUI): Any person who is under investigation for having the virus that causes COVID-19, or who was under investigation but tested negative for the virus.
  2. Presumptive Positive case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus, but testing was conducted at the local or state level. Currently, presumptive positive cases must have samples undergo confirmatory testing at the CDC.
  3. Laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus at the CDC laboratory.

As of Friday, DPHHS has tested a total of 107 people for COVID-19. The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 1,000 people, and anticipates receiving more tests from the CDC as needed. Click here to visit the DPHHS website.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, you can take the following steps to protect yourself and your family.

  • Stay home if you’re sick,
  • Avoid contact with sick people when possible,
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), as of March 13, there are 1,629 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the nation. There have been 41 deaths, most of them in Washington. Click here for the latest information about COVID-19 at the CDC website .

UPDATE: The news release initially reported that man from Lewis & Clark County tested positive, but Lewis & Clark Public Health issued a correction late Friday night: "We have interviewed the COVID-19 patient reported to be from Lewis and Clark County and learned that the man actually lives in Broadwater County. The confusion occurred because he sought medical care and was tested in Lewis and Clark County We apologize for any concern this caused and wish the gentleman a speedy recovery."