On the evening of June 16, 2020, the Richland County Health Department was notified by the Montana State Public Health Laboratory of two active cases of COVID-19 in individuals residing in Richland County. This brings the total case count to five, three of which are recovered. Current active cases are as follows:

Case 4: A female in her 40s who is not hospitalized. The individual is isolating at home and the case investigation is ongoing. Contact tracing has begun.

Case 5: A male in his 40s who is being evaluated for possible hospitalization. The case investigation is ongoing. Contact tracing has begun.

In accordance with Federal law, the Department will not release any other identifying information about the case to protect the individual’s personal privacy.

The Richland County Health Department will be working with these individuals to identify close contacts. Anyone who is a direct contact will receive a phone call from the Richland County Health Department with instruction on how to proceed.

Members of the public can help by ensuring their voicemail box is setup and available, and by answering the phone when public health calls. Only those people who meet the definition of a close contact will receive calls. A close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, two days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. It is important that people who are not named as close contacts and are not sick do not go to the clinic or hospital seeking coronavirus testing.

All residents should continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask when social distancing is difficult, stay home when you’re sick, minimize non-essential travel, and limit close contacts. Vulnerable populations, including those over 65 and those with compromised immune systems, should continue to shelter in place.

The COVID-19 Information Line remains open and staffed. Your questions can be answered by a knowledgeable public health staff member by calling 406-433-6947.

Stephanie Ler, RS, MPH, is Richland County Health Department Public Information Officer.

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