Montana reaches 90 COVID-19 cases – Helena Independent Record

Montana reaches 90 COVID-19 cases – Helena Independent Record

Health care workers file COVID-19 tests at a drive-up testing facility at St. Peter’s Health on March 24 in Helena. 

Montana reached 90 known cases of COVID-19 by Thursday afternoon, with more than a third in Gallatin County, according to test results announced by the state.

That’s a rise of 21 cases from Wednesday night. Almost 2,700 people have been tested at the state public health lab in Montana. 

Two smaller, more rural counties in northwestern Montana, Glacier and Lincoln, picked up their first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, over the last two days.

So did Hill County, with a larger population center of Havre. Cases are identified by county, not town, because of concerns about patient privacy, so it’s not possible to narrow down a patient’s precise location within a county.

Gallatin County still has the most known cases in the state by more than double the next closest county, at 38.

Yellowstone County has 14, Missoula has seven, Cascade and Flathead each have five, Butte-Silver Bow and Lewis and Clark each have five, Madison and Broadwater have two, and Jefferson, Ravalli, Roosevelt, Hill, Glacier, Toole, Meagher and Lincoln each have one.

The state also reported its first hospitalization from the coronavirus Wednesday. The hospitalization figure could include hospitalizations when the test was performed after the patient was admitted to the hospital. An official said the state could not provide more information about the hospitalization because of privacy reasons.

Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday issued a shelter-in-place order, a measure meant to keep the state’s 1.06 million residents at home in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order takes effect Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Bullock earlier issued an emergency order in Montana, and public K-12 schools closed, as have universities. Businesses like bars and gyms, where people congregate, are closed, though some can offer to-go options.

The governor also earlier prohibited nonessential social and recreational gatherings of more than 10 people outside a home or place of residence, if a distance of at least 6 feet between people cannot be maintained. He also told stores to follow rules keeping people 6 feet apart, though he exempted essential places like grocery stores, health care facilities and pharmacies.

Also this week, Bullock said counties could choose to conduct the June 2 by mail.

Patrick Reilly contributed to this article.

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