Workplace cluster of COVID-19 cases identified in Cascade County

During a June 24 press conference, Gov. Steve Bullock and state health officials discussed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and clusters in several areas.

Big Horn County, the Crow Reservation and Yellowstone County have had a cluster of new cases, as has Custer County.

During the presentation, Stacey Anderson, the state’s lead epidemiologist said contact tracing is a complicated process and walked through several clusters.

A work place cluster has been identified in Cascade County, where one person, who Anderson said was possibly symptomatic at the time was in a workplace transport vehicle and all seven people who were in the van tested positive.

Anderson said then the virus continued on as people in the van worked in two different crews and the positive cases have now spread to three other Montana counties and two other states.

Of the 13 positive cases related to this cluster, 9 are employees, 11 are Montana residents, 7 are Cascade County residents. Flathead, Missoula and Yellowstone counties are affected, as are Washington and Idaho, according to the chart from the state epidemiologist. In this cluster, seven people were asymptomatic at the time of diagnoses, according to the state’s chart.

“This one rapidly expanded to having multiple cases from multiple counties in Montana and each person had multiple contacts,” Anderson said.

State officials said mask use did not appear to be widespread in this case.

Since June 13, nine new cases have been confirmed in Cascade County.

Background on all of the county’s most recent cases is available in the following links:
26th COVID-19 case confirmed in Cascade County
Three new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Cascade County
CCHD confirms 22nd COVID-19 case
Cascade County notified of 21st COVID-19 case

During the press conference, Gov. Steve Bullock said that “no doubt that we’ve seen as spike” in cases since phase two began on June 1.

He said the state still has low numbers per capita, but encouraged residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“All it takes is one person,” he said.

He has not mandated the use of masks in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain.