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Another virus death tied to Montana care facility outbreak

| July 23, 2020 12:29 PM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana has confirmed 97 more cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths, including a 14th death related to an outbreak at a memory care facility in Billings, state officials said Thursday.

A man in his 70s died at the Canyon Creek Memory Care facility on Wednesday, Yellowstone County health officials said.

“The harsh reality of the increasing number of deaths in this senior care residence is heartbreaking, but our pain is nothing compared to every family member who has lost someone to this tragic disease," said county health officer John Felton.

The facility had 59 residents when the outbreak was discovered in late June. The 14 deaths have happened over 17 days beginning on July 6.

Lake County announced its first COVID-19 death on Thursday, a man in his 70s who had been hospitalized, county health officials said.

Forty-four people overall have died of complications due to COVID-19 in Montana, with nearly half of the deaths tied to long-term care facilities. Fifty-four people are hospitalized, state officials said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Montana’s known cases have topped 2,900 since the pandemic began and nearly 1,300 people are known to be currently infected, including more than 500 in Yellowstone County. The number of infections is thought to be much higher because many people have not been tested.

In other Montana coronavirus news:

— Montana's new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 2,564 last week, compared to 2,990 a week earlier. Just over 129,000 Montana workers have been unemployed at some point since March 14 amid the economic fallout from the virus, the U.S. Employment and Training Administration said. Montana issued about $43 million in unemployment payments last week.