MISSOULA — Governor Steve Bullock confirmed on Saturday that two presumptively positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Missoula County.
One case was found in a Missoula County woman in her 30s and the other in a man in his 50s. The tests, conducted by the DPHHS Public Health Laboratory, were confirmed Saturday evening.
As is current standard, test results are considered presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The two Missoula County cases announced Saturday bring the total positive cases of coronavirus in Montana to six, after the four announced on Friday.
The patients will be isolated pursuant to public health guidelines, according to a news release. Those who came into close contact with the individuals will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance.
The DPHHS and the Missoula City-County Health Department are immediately following up to learn more details about the two individual’s exposure risk, travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients.
No other information on the 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19: Anyone who has tested positive for the virus at the CDC laboratory.
As of Saturday, DPHHS has tested a total of 166 people for COVID-19. The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 850 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.
The CDC reports that as of March 14, there are 1,629 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the nation. There have been 41 deaths, most of them in Washington.