New COVID-19 cases in West Yellowstone not stopping reopening phases

Posted at 8:31 AM, May 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 10:31:55-04

BOZEMAN -- The two new coronavirus cases in West Yellowstone are not stopping the reopening efforts in the Gallatin Valley, according to health officialswith the Gallatin County Health Department.

"What we had this week was two cases in the same family associated with some out of state travel," said Matt Kelley, the Health Officer at the Gallatin County Health Department, during a press conference on Friday. "But just having one or two cases is not going to cause us to back down from the reopening because if we did that we would not be going anywhere, we would be going back and forth."

West Yellowstone is still planning to open to the national park when it is deemed safe to do so. And they are expected to add additional safety precautions.

"We have a building in town where we can set up a viral triage clinic," said Shane Grube, the Chief of the Hebgen Basin Fire District in West Yellowstone. "We are currently working with community health partners and Bozeman Health on how to step that piece up."

Grube says the are still working on how to fund that project. But officials plan to monitor these cases and will provide any necessary updates with the community.

"This is not a time to panic. This is not a time to make major decisions based on these two cases," said Kelley. "We want to make sure that as we (make decisions on West Yellowstone's reopening), that we're being transparent with what we know is happening on the local level."

Kelley and the Gallatin Valley Health Department said they will continue to monitor the two cases to make sure they contain any possibility of a spread. To listen to Friday's full press conference, visit the Gallatin County Health Deparment's Facebook page .