With Montana COVID-19 cases on the rise, how are recoveries reported?

With Montana COVID cases on the rise, how are recoveries reported?
Posted at 11:30 AM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 13:30:51-04

BILLINGS — Some people are wondering what constitutes a recovery in officials reports, and how that factors into the counting of active cases as COVID-19 new cases accumulate daily in Montana.

Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said on Thursday that for a person to be classified as recovered they must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of any “fever-reducing medications.”

Felton said patients must also have shown improvement in respiratory function and be at least 10 days from the onset of any COVID-19 related symptoms.

“If those three conditions are met, then the person is considered recovered and they are released from isolation," he said.

According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), the US Centers for Disease Contro and Prevention (CDC) does not require follow up testing for individuals to be released from isolation.

DPHHS spokesman Jon Ebelt says delays in updating active case counts may arise when counties with high case numbers, such as Yellowstone, are not able to reconcile their data with DPHHS as often as others.

Different counties across Montana report daily COVID-19 numbers at different times during, which leads to a natural ebb and flow of the numbers at the state level.

Here's how it works:

  • When health care providers and laboratories report a positive COVID-19 result to local county health departments, that result will trigger an investigation by local health officials.
  • Investigations include contact tracing and notifying close contacts of exposure and health risks associated with the virus. This information is then submitted to the state health department.
  • As a result, reported active cases on any Montana county’s website may, and often do, differ from what the state department has reported for that day.

Click here for more information on state COVID-19 case numbers of visit your county’s health department website.