Report: "Interim Analysis of COVID-19 cases in Montana"

Posted at 12:08 PM, Apr 15, 2020

Governor Steve Bullock on Tuesday released a report created by state epidemiologists examining 377 cases of COVID-19 in Montana.

The summary examines the rate of Montana’s new cases over time, which counties are impacted the most, who is affected, and how the virus is spreading in Montana. Bullock said in a news release that the report offers early signs that measures to slow the spread, including social distancing and the "stay at home" order, are working.

Montana's first COVID-19 case was reported on March 11th and the number of new cases has climbed to 377 (as of April 10, the date the report was published). It took 13 days to reach 100 reported cases. After the first 100 cases, growth has remained steady and increased by another 100 cases for every five days. An even slower rate of growth had been detected for most recent case reports and although it's too soon to tell if this slow growth will continue, it could be an early indicator of the effectiveness of staying home.

The data indicates 30% of reported cases were likely acquired through travel-related exposure and 26% of cases were likely acquired in the community.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • There are 28 counties with reported cases. Gallatin County reports the most cases (36%), followed by Yellowstone (15%), Flathead (9%) and Missoula (8%) Counties.
  • In the last two weeks, the DPHHS lab processed an average of 370 specimens daily, reaching an average positivity rate of about 4.5%
  • While the virus can be especially dangerous for older Montanans, 20 to 29-year-olds make up 20% of cases and the second most common age group are those between 50 and 59 at 17%. The median age for all cases is 48 years of age with a range between 1-91 years of age and 50% of cases are between 31-62 years of age.
  • Of Montana's total cases, 50% are male and 50% are female.

The summary includes specific information on COVID-19 in Gallatin County, which accounts for 36% of the state’s total cases. In Gallatin County, 27% of cases are considered community acquired and 20% are associated with travel outside of Montana prior to onset of symptoms. Additionally, 13% of cases were part of five clusters occurring in different settings. These include a worksite, two office settings, and two social events that occurred prior to Governor Bullock’s Stay at Home Directive. The report states that there is no evidence that spring break or visitors to ski areas contributed significantly to the cases in Gallatin County.

Click here to read the complete report (PDF).

As of Wednesday morning (April 15), there have been a total of 404 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana, an increase of five since Tuesday. There have been seven deaths to date ( source/map ). There have been three deaths in Toole County, and one each in Lincoln County, Madison County, Missoula County, and Flathead County.

There have now been 51 hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Montana; 21 of those are considered "active hospitalizations." There have been a total of 209 recovered patients. The DPHHS public health lab in Helena has completed 9,583 tests for COVID-19, including 349 tests since Tuesday's update.

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