Governor Steve Bullock, on Saturday, March 14, 2020, confirmed two presumptively positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Missoula County, Montana.
The Missoula County patient is a female in their 30s. The Missoula County patient is a male in their 50s.
The tests, conducted by the DPHHS Public Health Laboratory, were confirmed Saturday evening. As is current standard, test results are considered presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
DPHHS and the Missoula City-County Health Department are immediately following up to learn more details about the two individual’s exposure risk, travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients.
All patients will be isolated or quarantined pursuant to public health guidelines. Those who came into close contact with the individuals will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance.
The number of tests performed are updated daily here: https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusmt
The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 850 individuals and anticipates receiving more tests from the CDC as needed.
COVID-19-related State of Emergency
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Gov. Bullock issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency to exist within the state of Montana related to the communicable disease COVID-19 novel coronavirus. The emergency order puts the state on highest alert; still no confirmed cases in the state.
“Now is the time to plan, not to panic. Our state has been preparing for coronavirus to come to Montana and we will be prepared to respond all along the way,” said Gov. Bullock. “Just like we do when any challenging situation hits our communities, we stick together to make sure that we mitigate the impact, that we have an appropriate response, and that we slow the spread.”
The emergency order allows the governor to direct a coordinated response to an outbreak of communicable disease. This includes mobilizing all available state resources, such as emergency funds or personnel from the National Guard. It also allows the governor to take additional steps as warranted.
There are several confirmed cases in the state of Montana to date. However, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, local health departments, health and medical departments and local jurisdictions are activating response plans and protocols to address the arrival of the virus in the state of Montana.