3 new local virus cases

Two restaurants close temporarily
By 
Sam Klomhaus — Enterprise Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Article Image Alt Text

Enterprise photo by Nate Howard

Park County Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick works on her laptop while testing occurs at the downtown Livingston testing clinic June 30.

Park County Health Officer Dr. Laurel Desnick told the Park County commissioners Tuesday the county’s COVID response is very busy, with one of the highest testing rates in Montana, which in turn has one of the highest testing rates in the U.S. 

Park County reported three new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the county’s total case count to 20, and its active case count to 12.

Park County has one COVID patient hospitalized, but that did not arise in Park County, Desnick said.

Meanwhile, Neptune’s Taphouse & Eatery announced Monday the restaurant has had three employees test positive for the virus, and is closing temporarily.

“At most we should only have to close for a full 14 day quarantine,” owner Lauren Silano wrote on Facebook Monday. “At least it will probably be 3-7 days.”

“At this point, I don’t feel confident that we can prevent the web from spreading while staying open. I know we’ve kept the public safe since having gone to contactless take out only. However, now with the amount of my employees potentially at risk for infection and needing to quarantine to keep others safe, we just can’t staff our operation without those who need to quarantine,” Silano wrote.

Neptune’s also posted: “In regards to those who tested positive, the good news is, so far it’s been like a really bad flu but not anything they’ve needed to be hospitalized for.”

The Mint Bar & Grill also announced that it is closing temporarily as cases have risen.

The Mint posted on Facebook: “As active Park County Covid cases creep closer and closer to our front door, we have made the tough decision to close again (temporarily). We would rather help the community slow the spread than fall victim to it.”

Overall, Montana reported 109 new cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s case total to 1,952, with 34 deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

The majority of Park County’s active cases are all related, in a cluster, which seems to have been contained, Desnick said.  

“We’re missing a few? Probably. Are we missing very many? Probably not,” she said.

Sunday’s surveillance testing events in Gardiner and Livingston tested close to 1,200 people, Desnick said. 

She said Park County is using two outside labs to process tests in addition to the state lab, which is processing more than 2,000 tests per day.

Rising testing numbers have made turnaround times slower, Desnick said.

The department will be testing the long-term care facilities in the area weekly, Desnick said, and there will be another large-scale testing event the week before school is scheduled to start.

In Cooke City, the Health Department has a pop-up testing site every Monday, Desnick said. There is also a Monday pop-up site in Gardiner.

The Health Department is working hard on messaging, Desnick said, because there seems to be no clear direction, and there needs to be a unified message for people to understand.

———

Enterprise Staff Writer Justin Post contributed to this article.