2 new COVID-19 cases reported (Wednesday, June 3)

Yellowstone Co. reports 2 new cases
Posted at 9:58 AM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 13:49:57-04

Montana added 2 new cases of COVID-19 to the state's total on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Yellowstone County added 2 new cases for a total of 102 confirmed cases.

MTN News is counting 524 total cases. The state's confirmed case count is 525, which includes a Jefferson County resident who reportedly has not been in Montana for several weeks, did not acquire COVID-19 in Montana, and has not been in contact with anyone in the state after testing positive.

The state conducted 1,236 new tests, for a total of 43,448.

There are currently 44 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.

From May 25 to June 1, 40 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Montana.

Of those cases, 22 were in Big Horn County and 12 were in Yellowstone County.

Governor Steve Bullock addressed members of the media Monday on two separate clusters of cases of COVID-19 that were recently found in Big Horn and Yellowstone Counties.

The Yellowstone County cluster has been linked to the Yellowstone County Jail.

State Medical Officer Doctor Greg Holzman said cluster cases are still under investigation, but the state has been able to link all of the cases to an origin.

“So we’re not seeing community spread at this point in time in either places, but we want to continue to get in front of it with our contact tracing to make sure the outbreak does not get larger,” said Holzman.

Hozlman said community spread is where an origin can not be determined, and has yet to be documented in the state.

“I want to underscore that for every positive case we have right now in Montana, there’s not one case in Montana where we haven’t been able to identify where exactly that positive transmission came from,” added Bullock.

Bullock said, at this time, he is not considering going back to phase one for the state, but noted local county officials can increase restrictions if they feel it is necessary.

The state is actively looking at ways to limit any spread from tourists, but say fortunately most tourists come to Montana to spend their time outdoors.

“We know this virus is still here,” said Bullock. “I think the Big Horn County and Yellowstone County--and even the cases we’ve had in Gallatin underscore the importance of really getting on top of cases early and doing the community tracing efforts to ensure that what could be a small handful of cases doesn’t get out of hand.”

Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said Monday he expects more COVID-19 testing at the county jail after a recent outbreak.

"I think it's something that's probably going to have to be done," Linder said at a news conference in Billings.

Linder held the news conference after eight female inmates and one jail staffer tested postitive for COVID-19 last week .

Linder did not say how many more tests he expects to conduct and noted they might be limited by availability. The jail tested 34 inmates and 41 staffers on Friday. All the inmates who have tested positive are in isolation.

There have been 17 deaths in Montana to date. There have been six deaths in Toole County, two in Cascade County, two in Flathead County, three in Yellowstone County, and one each in Gallatin County, Lincoln County, Madison County, and Missoula County.


Montana moves to "phase two" of Gov. Bullock's "Reopening The Big Sky" plan on Monday, June 1. Bullock noted that Montana continues to have the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations per capita in the nation.

Bullock outlined the following indicators which prompted him - in consultation with public health officials and disaster response personnel - to move into Phase Two beginning on June 1:

  • A downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.
  • The current ability to contact and trace, along with plans to add additional contact tracers to the existing workforce.
  • Ensuring that health care workers have the supplies they need to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Ramping up testing capacity to eventually meet a target of 60,000 tests a month and prioritizing testing for vulnerable Montanans and tribal communities. A total of 5,600 tests were conducted last week. Increased testing continues with sentinel testing efforts in nursing homes and assisting living facilities, testing events in tribal areas, and drive through testing being conducted at a few sites.

Here are some of the highlights of phase two:

  • Avoid gatherings in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups larger than 50 people should be canceled unless physical distancing can be maintained. It is recommended to continue to social distance in gatherings of any size.
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos remains in the same operations status as Phase One, but with an increase to 75% capacity.
  • Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pool, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
  • Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
  • All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, and Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.

The Rebound

The Rebound: Montana brings you stories to help navigate these uncertain times caused by the coronavirus pandemic — from getting back to work to making ends meet — along with tips on how to manage the pressure and a look at how those in the community continue to step up.