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Big Sky sees first confirmed COVID-19 case

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Gallatin County has four cases

By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF

This story has been updated.

BIG SKY – Officials with Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center confirmed the first case of COVID-19 coronavirus in Big Sky late yesterday, Wednesday, March 18, when the results of the patient’s testing became available.

The individual, the fourth confirmed case in Gallatin County thus far, is a male in his 60s from California.

After learning of potential exposure while he was en route to Big Sky for a ski trip, the checked into Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center and is recovering in isolation in his Big Sky home (see Editor’s Note). All individuals who came in contact with the patient are in self-isolation, said Lori Christenson, public information officer for Gallatin City-County Health Department, at March 19 afternoon press conference regarding the new case.

According to Christenson, the airplane on which the patient flew to Montana is under a contact investigation—a manifest for the flight has been acquired and individuals who may have been exposed have been contacted.

While the news is the latest blow for the southwest Montana county amid COVID-19 developments, Christenson is urging residents to pursue a semblance of normalcy and practice good emotional, spiritual and physical health, including regular hand washing, social distancing and getting outside in the fresh air.

“We want to make sure people are taking care of themselves and their own wellbeing,” Christenson said. “This is a lot for our community to handle.”

Those wishing to volunteer to assist the health department in its efforts with the coronavirus should visit the Gallatin City-County Health Department at healthygallatin.org.

UPDATE: During a press conference yesterday, Gallatin City-County Health Department Public Information Officer Lori Christenson stated that a California man in his 60s had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Big Sky Medical Center and was not in Big Sky.

EBS received an email from the health department this morning saying Christenson had received incorrect information and had made a mistake. The individual is recovering in isolation at his home in Big Sky, but the “patient had very limited contact with the community,” according to health department officials.

“There have been 8 total patients tested at Big Sky Medical Center and [this] 1 patient tested positive [for the COVID-19 coronavirus],” the email said.

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