Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Montana records 1,063 new COVID confirmations, more local cases confirmed

Mores cases confirmed in Sweet Home and Chinook, Harlem and Havre schools


Last updated 10/30/2020 at 2:18pm

Editor's note: This version corrects that the Harlem junior-senior high school building is closed today and the Harlem Elementary School building remained open.

Montana set a new high today for one-day totals in new COVID-19 cases, and more cases were confirmed in Chinook's Sweet Home, Chinook High School, Harlem Elementary School and Havre Public Schools.

The state COVID-19 response tracking map update this morning listed 1,063 new cases confirmed, the highest daily total since the disease was first confirmed in Montana in March.

The one-day total more than doubles the total confirmed in the state from March through June 1, 519 total cases at that time.

The 1,063 new cases brings the state to a total of 31,916 cases, 10,450 of them active, with 364 deaths and 357 active hospitalizations.

Locally, Sweet Home in Chinook reports it now has 18 residents confirmed with COVID-19 and five positive staff members with one COVID-19-related death.

Harlem schools reported it closed the junior-senior high school today due to a confirmed COVID-19 case, although the elementary school building remained open.

Havre Public Schools reported Thursday evening three new cases were confirmed in people associated with the district, with one quarantined and contact tracing not needed, but contact tracing underway for the other two.

The state tracking map listed four new cases in Chouteau County with a total of 108 cases, 49 active.

The map listed Liberty County with one new confirmed case, four active and 28 recovered.

Hill County Health Department listed in a release Thursday evening 13 new cases for a total of 835 cases since the pandemic began, with 270 active cases, 21 current hospitalizations and 22 deaths.

Rocky Boy Health Center, whose number of confirmed cases either are included in the Chouteau or Hill County numbers, reported Thursday six new cases with 182 active cases confirmed at the center, 173 of those cases active on the reservation, and four hospitalizations.

More cases in Sweet Home

The Sweet Home long-term care facility in Chinook reported three confirmed COVID-19 cases in residents and three more in staff members Wednesday and one COVID-19-related death.

Thursday, Sweet Home reported it had the 18 residents and five staff members confirmed with COVID-19 and the one death.

The positive residents are isolated in one area of the building and staff who are positive are home in isolation, the post said.

"We are diligently continuing isolation and testing protocols; we will be updating family members by phone of any immediate changes in their loved one," the post said.

"Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers," it concluded.

Northern Montana Care Center reported its first confirmed case in a staff member Sept. 16, and has had multiple cases in residents and staff members and multiple COVID-19-related deaths since then.

New case in Harlem schools shuts down junior-senior high

Harlem Schools reported Thursday the junior-senior high school would be closed today due to a newly confirmed case in the school.

"So far, we have had 24 students (Hybrid and Remote) and four staff members test positive," a release from Superintendent Doreen Warren, also signed by Blaine County Health Department head Jana McPherson-Hauer and Kathleen Adams of, Fort Belknap Tribal Health, said. "I’m including 100 percent remote students in my notifications because it gives a more complete picture of what is going on in our community and because some of our remote students may be ill and not able to complete their assignments. School officials are working closely and consistently with both Fort Belknap’s (public health nurse) and Blaine County’s Public Health Departments."

"The COVID response in the school district will be an ongoing effort, and we will update families and the community as the situation develops throughout the school year," the release said. "Please note: There is a difference between the count reported here and the count reported on the DPHHS website because there is a several-day lag time in their report about schools."

"Please stay safe, wear your masks, and practice social distancing," it added.

A new case in Chinook High School

Chinook Public Schools Superintendent Darren Hannum and McPherson-Hauer issued a release today saying a case in a Chinook High School student was confirmed Thursday.

"School officials are working closely and consistently with Blaine County Health Department to assess the risk to the rest of our school population," the release said. "At this time, all the contacts of the case have been notified and are quarantined.

"The COVID response in the school district will be an ongoing effort, and we will continue to update families and the community as the situation develops throughout the school year," the release said.

"This is a reminder to stay vigilant," the release added. "Do not send kids to school if they are sick. Follow the guidance of local public health.

"Thank you for doing your part to keep Blaine County safe," the release concluded.

More Havre Public Schools cases

Havre Public School's release said three more cases associated with the district were confirmed Thursday. One was in a person last in contact with the district Oct. 14 and the person was in quarantine. No contact tracing is being conducted in that case.

The other two cases last were in contact with the district Oct. 21, although the people have not been in contact with the district since then. Havre Public Schools Nurse Nurse Jeri Erickson and the Hill County Health Department will continue contact tracing, the release said, adding that if any person associated with the district is at risk of exposure, the Hill County Health Department will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action.

"It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill seek out their medical provider for specific instructions," the release adds. "The school district is in contact with the health department and reviewing the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) guidance to complete cleaning the school and other related facilities. The other steps taken by the school district include the continuation of social/physical distancing, the use of face coverings, and frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing. Contact the superintendent for details about these measures.

"School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available," the release said.

Watch for updates here and in Monday's edition of The Havre Daily News.


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