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Yellowstone Co. provides details on several coronavirus cases

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Posted at 10:35 AM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 12:35:36-04

A Yellowstone County jail employee and two healthcare workers were the three Thursday positive tests for COVID-19 (coronavirus), officials announced Friday.

The detention officer posted notice of the positive test and called in sick for his shift that was to start Thursday night, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said in a news release.

He last worked at the detention center on Sunday, March 15, Linder said. Another officer was sent home by supervisors after having a cough Thursday morning. He has taken a COVID-19 test but has not received the results, Linder said.

The two healthcare workers contracted the disease while away from their workplace, Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said at a Friday news conference.

He added that these two workers may have been exposed at a Montana Board of Regents meeting on March 5 in Dillon, where others have reported contracting the disease, including Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian.

Watch the full press conference below.

LIVE: Yellowstone County health officials providing COVID-19 update

Governor Steve Bullock on Friday ordered the statewide closure of dining rooms in restaurants , and also bars, breweries and other businesses that could draw large gatherings. He said he had been considering the action for several days, but now was the right time to do it.

“As we see positive cases that include both younger and older Montanans, and in cases urban and now rural, I know that that closure and these actions are imperative to protect our friends and neighbors,” he said.

The order went into effect at 8 p.m. on Friday, and expires at 11:59 p.m. on March 27 – the same time that statewide school closures are set to expire. However, Bullock said that time was chosen simply to align the two measures, and that it is possible both orders would be extended.

The state-wide order came after several counties and town imposed similar restrictions earlier this week.