Lake County begins free COVID-19 testing

Virus Outbreak Belgium
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 21:23:44-04

ARLEE — Lake County and the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe are offering free COVID-19 tests on the Flathead Indian Reservation all this week.

People in line on Wednesday in Arlee said they want to get tested to protect themselves and their community.

"I'm 81 years old, and I want to live a little bit longer," said Stephen Small Salmon who is a Salish Language Specialist, teaching the language to younger generations

He said he knows the pandemic poses a threat to the elders, and that's why he's getting tested. "So I can keep going, so the language will keep going."

The testing is a joint effort of the CSKT and Lake County and is part of Governor Steve Bullock’s goal to test 60,000 Montanans a month.

Greg Gould with the Lake County Unified Command says they have 4,000 tests available.

"The cars are still coming. I think we're going to do probably 500 tests in the first two hours," he said.

Gould said the more people that get tested, the more data they can collect.

"So that we can understand where the virus is, and how it's moving throughout our communities," he told MTN News.

Small Salmon came from Ronan to get tested and said he wants to start seeing more people wearing masks and gloves.

"It really concerns me, my friends, my children, my elders, for everybody," Small Salmon said.

Everyone who was tested should receive results in about a week.

Testing will continue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo on Thursday, at Polson High School on Friday, and at the Standing Arrow Celebration Grounds in Elmo on Saturday.