KALISPELL — Health officials say four residents of Kalispell's Brendan House are in the hospital after a COVID-19 outbreak hit the nursing facility -- infecting dozens.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) officials say the outbreak started last week when four residents tested positive for COVID-19 and were isolated and closely monitored.
Following additional testing over the weekend, 40 Brendan House residents also received positive COVID-19 results out of 72 total residents.
KRH Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Jeff Tjaden says Brendan House has been conducting routine COVID-19 surveillance testing on a weekly basis for the last three months.
Since the outbreak started, Dr. Tjaden says surveillance testing has increased to once every 48 hours for all residents and staff.
“By the time you develop symptoms you may have already exposed a significant number of people kind of in the background,” Dr. Tjaden explained.
“So, you really have to kind of do active surveillance to kind of find these cases early because, by the time you find them, you’re already a little bit behind, but you could have been well behind,” he added.
Dr. Tjaden says the outbreak at Brendan House likely started from asymptomatic transmission.
The Brendan House nursing facility has been closed to all outside visitors since March.