Lake County residents test positive for COVID-19
LAKE COUNTY – The Mission Valley was not immune to the COVID-19 virus. On March 26, the Lake County Public Health Department reported the first case. Another person was identified on Saturday and a third on Sunday.
“We put up a good, hard fight, but we now join many other counties in our state with a confirmed COVID-19 case,” Lake County Public Health posted.
On Thursday, the Lake County Health Department received a call at 9:10 p.m. from the Department of Public Health and Human Services lab that a 60-year-old male tested positive for the virus. He was following guidance to quarantine at home after being notified that he had been in close contact with a confirmed out-of-county case. “The individual has not been out in the public since this contact, so at this time, there appears to be low-threat of exposure to the community,” according to public health.
The second confirmed case was a 60-year-old woman. Lake County and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes joined together to create the Unified Command Center. The UCC reported that the woman found with the virus was traveling out-of-state in an area with a high number of cases.
On Sunday, March 29, the third case of COVID-19 was identified as a woman. Her age wasn’t known. The UCC reported that she is the spouse of the first identified case in the county. She has been quarantined since her husband was diagnosed and remains in isolation, according to the UCC.
In Montana, two deaths were reported as a result of COVID-19 last week. On Thursday, March 26, the first person to die from complications due to COVID-19 was a 77-year-old man from Lincoln County who had recently returned from a West Coast vacation, although it’s not known where he contracted the virus. Montana Free Press reported that Jim Tomlin was a much-loved father, husband, friend and teacher.
Tomlin was initially taken to a hospital in Libby with a fever, headaches, confusion and some coughing, according to Montana Free Press. “He was immediately quarantined, and by Wednesday evening was put on a ventilator and transferred to a hospital in Kalispell.”
Jim’s son G. Scott Tomlin was quoted as saying: “My dad was a lifelong educator, and I think he’d like to continue educating people. He’d want people to know that you can help and that your actions matter. (COVID-19 is) real even in small towns. We have to do something drastic. Everyone needs to take action, and it’s going to suck. I hope this motivates some people.”
The second Montana death from COVID-19 was a woman in her senior years in Madison County, reported by the Madison County Public Health Department. Governor Steve Bullock issued a statement announcing the second death.
“I’m saddened to hear that a second Montanan has died from COVID-19. No matter in which community we live, the impact of each loss of life has a ripple effect all throughout the state and serves as a reminder of how serious this disease is. Our hearts go out to the family, friends and community of this Montanan.”
As of Monday, March 30, at 8:30 a.m., Montana had 171 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Bullock issued a stay-at-home order on Thursday, March 26, in an effort to slow the pandemic and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. The directive began on Saturday, March 28, and is in effect through April 10 – although that date could be extended. The governor ordered all nonessential businesses and operations to close. Grocery stores and medical facilities will be open. The directive also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or place of residence.
“I am taking these measures because we need to stay in front of this pandemic and slow the growth of infections,” Bullock said. “In order to have a healthy economy, we need a healthy population. We cannot rebuild our economic strength without doing everything we can now to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus.”