Four cases of COVID-19 were reported late Friday evening in Montana, marking the state’s first “presumptively positive” patients.
In a press release, Gov. Steve Bullock said the four cases included a Gallatin County man in his 40s, two 50-year-old men in Silver Bow and Lewis and Clark counties, and 50-year-old woman in Yellowstone County.
“We’ve been monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and vigorously preparing for COVID-19 to reach Montana, making today’s news unsurprising,” Bullock said. “As our public health officials work relentlessly to prevent further spread, I urge all Montanans to continue efforts to plan and follow public health recommendations to take the proper precautions.”
As of Friday, the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services has tested 107 people for the virus. State officials have said they have the capacity to test 1,000 people, though more tests are expected from the CDC.
Both Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines considered the rapidly changing conditions ahead of a House vote on Friday night regarding a major coronavirus relief package.
“This outbreak is serious, which is why I’ve introduced legislation to ensure that testing for this disease is free to all Montanans, and why I’ve been holding the administration accountable to make sure that folks have access to timely information about test kits and proper protection,” Tester said. “I encourage everyone to take proper safety measures, and I will continue working to keep Montanans safe.”
After days of negotiations, the House on Friday passed the coronavirus response bill that includes free testing and paid sick leave. It’s expected to go to the Senate soon for a vote.
“Cindy and I are praying for those who are infected and for their families,” Daines said. “We urge all Montanans to take the necessary preventative measures in anticipation of additional cases. I’ll continue to be in close contact with state and local officials as we work together to combat this virus.”
No other information on the four Montana patients – including their current medical condition – has been released at this point.