Benefis works to contain COVID-19 outbreak at Senior Services

Posted at 12:30 PM, Oct 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-10 14:30:30-04

Coronavirus cases at Benefis Senior Services continued to rise this week, as officials worked to contain an outbreak at the Eastview campus.

As of Friday afternoon, there are 24 confirmed cases among residents, and 10 staff members have tested positive. In total, Senior Services has 172 residents and 400 staff members. Of the 24 confirmed cases, Benefis says the majority aren't exhibiting symptoms, although some have been at least briefly hospitalized. Benefis couldn't provide an exact number of hospitalizations as of late Friday.

The head of Senior Services said the outbreak was likely caused by an infected staff member. There have been no confirmed cases at Senior Services’ other two campuses, Westview and Grandview. But there’s been some confusion about what happens to residents when they test positive.

David Krebs, Benefis Senior Services chief operating officer, told MTN News that all residents who test positive are moved to a stand-alone covid-positive care center inside Senior Services’ west campus building. That center is on the first floor of the building. It is completely separate and isolated from the Westview campus, which is on the building’s fourth floor.

Krebs said there have been more than 2,000 coronavirus tests administered to residents and staff over the past two weeks. He said he’s working hard to stay transparent about the outbreak.

“We’re just trying to keep everyone informed and let them know that we’re doing the best job possible to keep all of our seniors safe,” he said. “Trying to keep them, number one, as comfortable as they can be, and get them through the COVID and back to their apartments.

For daily updates on testing and positive cases at Benefis Senior Services, you can call 406-455-2909.

There were 715 new cases and nine new deaths added to the total on the Montana COVID-19 tracking site on Friday morning. The data below is from the official Montana website on October 9:

  • TOTAL CASES & RECOVERIES: There have been 17,399 cumulative cases statewide, with 10,863 people recovered.
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: There are 266 current hospitalizations, and a cumulative total of 868 hospitalizations.
  • DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths in Montana is at 206.
  • ACTIVE CASES: The state reports there are currently 6,330 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.
  • TESTING: There were 5,081 completed tests, for a new cumulative state-wide total of 386,746.

Based on data from county public health departments, MTN News is also reporting 205 total deaths as of Friday. Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any information that is not yet included in the state's daily updates.