Covid cases re-emerge on Flathead Reservation

by Lake County Leader
| June 18, 2020 10:52 AM

Health officials with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on June 12 confirmed four positive COVID-19 cases on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

A clear line of direct transmission was identified linking all four cases, according to Lake County-CSKT Unified Command Center Public Information Officer Robert McDonald. He said public health nurses were working with the positive patients and their close contacts to ensure that everyone is tested and quarantined.

The cases were the first in Lake County since April.

As of Tuesday, there had been 614 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montana; and 535 cases had recovered, according to Lake County Public Health. On Tuesday, Montana reported a total of 79 COVID-19 related hospitalizations (eight current) and 19 deaths.

1,438 Lake County residents had been tested for COVID-19, and of those, nine tested positive (including the four active cases). On Tuesday, Lake County Public Health said there was another “presumptive positive” they were awaiting confirmation on. Another 59 tests were pending.

The Lake County-Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Unified Command Center will be offering all Mission Valley residents a free COVID-19 test at four different testing sites this week.

According to a press release, residents of Lake County and/or the Flathead Indian Reservation are invited to attend the drive-thru event, which “will be the largest testing event in Montana.”

While times may vary, it’s estimated that the drive-thru process will take no longer than 30 minutes and participants can expect their results within a week.

The test will only show if you are currently infected. The press release stresses it is not an anti-body test that reveals if participants have ever had the virus.

Those who are tested will need to provide contact information to receive their results. At this time there is no age limit to test, but minors must have a parent or legal guardian consent for testing.

According to the press release, “testing data is one of the best tools for the medical community to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus” and “testing for COVID-19 is simple, a quick nasal swab.”

The testing efforts are part of Gov. Steve Bullock’s goal to test 60,000 Montanans a month, prioritizing tribes, long-term living facilities and other vulnerable populations.

The locations and dates for the testing events are: Salish Kootenai College in Pablo on June 18, Polson High School Parking Lot on June 19 and Standing Arrow Celebration Grounds in Elmo on June 20.

People were tested at the Arlee Celebration Grounds on June 17

For more information call 406-275-2779 or email