Virus confirmed at local schools, UMW

Beaverhead County at 21 active cases
Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

All of the schools in the city of Dillon have at least one coronavirus-positive case, and the county overall has 21 active cases as of Monday night.

One student each at Parkview Elementary, Dillon Middle School and Beaverhead County High School tested positive for the coronavirus, and school officials hastened to assure the public the students had not been in contact with other students or staff when they could have transmitted the virus.

SD#10 Superintendent Randy Shipman noted in a robocall to parents that the middle- and elementary school students tested positive, with the cases confirmed on Sept. 25. The students were last on campus Sept. 17.

BCHS Superintendent and Principal Gary Haverfield stated in a press release the high school student received a positive-test confirmation on Sept. 24; the last time the student was in contact with staff or other students on campus was Sept. 18.

Neither district provided gender or age range for the positive cases.

The University of Montana Western also has nine active COVID-19 cases, according to Beaverhead County Public Health’s website. The cases are not separated between staff, faculty and students. The university has had 18 total cases since the start of school Aug. 24.

According to public health’s Facebook page, the county has 97 total positive COVID cases, with 21 active, and one death as of Monday. Public Health Director Sue Hansen said previously the Facebook numbers are the most current; the state’s COVID tracking website listed Beaverhead having 94 total cases and 18 active as of Tuesday morning.

County residents are required to wear masks per Gov. Steve Bullock’s mask directive.

The state reported Beaverhead’s newest positive cases include a 0-9 age male; three teenage women and three teenage men; three women and three men in their 20s; and one woman each in her 30s, 40s, 50s, and 80s.

Though all the schools in Dillon have tallied positive COVID-19 cases, none appeared on the latest statewide coronavirus school report, which was last updated Sept. 23.

The state saw sharp increases in new cases overall, setting records for the most new cases in a day a few times over the past two weeks. Montana added 1,954 new COVID-19 cases, and 14 deaths over the prior week as of Tuesday. Deaths were recorded in Big Horn, Flathead, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Wheatland and Yellowstone counties. The state totaled 12,724 cases and 177 deaths as of Tuesday.

The highest numbers of active cases as of Tuesday are in Yellowstone (832), Flathead (455), Missoula (310), Cascade (290), Rosebud (172) and Big Horn (132) counties.

There have been more than seven million positive cases and over 204,300 deaths in the nation as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).