BOZEMAN—In an afternoon press conference on Friday, April 3, Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley warned people to continue practicing social distancing as the weekend approaches.
“One advantage we have as Montanans is the availability of open space. Please use it wisely and with care,” he said.
The health officer also asked those pursuing activity in the outdoors to respect public closures, which are in place to negate the greater spread of illness. As of 1 p.m. on April 3, the health department reported 243 state-wide laboratory-confirmed cases, 93 of those being in Gallatin County. As of April 2, the state lab had received 900 tests.
Responding to a series of questions, Kelley said he suspects the high figure for Gallatin County cases could be related to the diverse economy of the community, which includes a growing university and tourism industry. “I think we have to consider the nature of our community,” he said, “and instead of running from that, use the strengths that our community also offers to deal with it.”
Kelley fielded a question that touched on alleged multiple confirmed cases among construction workers at a particular site in Big Sky who claim to have been told to continue work, to which he could offer no confirmation nor denial.
“While the entirety of Big Sky is part of our community, and we will serve people and we will continue to think about them as part of our community no matter where they live in Big Sky, as you drive up the mountain you cross the Gallatin County line. I need to be aware of that and cognizant of that as I exercise my duties as health officer,” Kelley said.