Montana has reported four cases of COVID-19, the new coronavirus.
Gov. Steve Bullock made the announcement Friday evening in a news release, confirming four people in Gallatin, Yellowstone, Silver Bow and Lewis and Clark counties were being treated for the virus.
“We’ve been monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and vigorously preparing for COVID-19 to reach Montana, making today’s news unsurprising,” Bullock stated. “As our public health officials work relentlessly to prevent further spread, I urge all Montanans to continue efforts to plan and follow public health recommendations to take the proper precautions.”
The announcement came after the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services had 30 people placed under monitoring and testing as of March 13.
Globally, the virus that the World Health Organization recognized and began monitoring at the start of the year surpassed over 109,000 confirmed cases as of March 13. In that time, it spread from Wuhan, China to Italy, Iran, Latin America and the United States and resulted in the deaths of nearly 4,000 people.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported health officials confirmed more than 1,600 cases across 46 states as of March 12. The majority of cases have been reported in California and Seattle.
According to the Missoulian, the state’s DPHHS received two kits from the CDC that allow for testing hundreds. As of March 13, the DPHHS website lists 107 tests, 103 of which have come back negative for the virus.
In a written statement sent before the first Montana cases were confirmed, UM President Seth Bodnar announced classes would transition to remote learning, but most campus services, including residence halls, dining services and computer labs, would remain open.
In a campus-wide email sent March 5, President Seth Bodnar said a task force had been formed to anticipate and respond to any cases stemming from UM. According to the email, the task force meets daily to “synthesize the latest information, consult with experts, analyze risk and prepare for various scenarios.”