Park County reports first death of local resident from COVID-19

Sam Klomhaus – Enterprise Staff Writer
Monday, November 16, 2020

A Park County man in his 70s died of COVID-19 Sunday at Livingston HealthCare, the first county resident to die from the virus, according to the Park County Health Department.

Another man, also in his 70s, who was a North Dakota resident being treated at LHC because of hospital bed shortages in the region, also died of COVID-19 Friday, a Health Department press release said.

“I would like to express my condolences to the families,” said Dr. Laurel Desnick, Park County health officer. “We all share in your sadness. It is never easy to lose a loved one, especially far from home.”

The Health Department will not release further information about the deaths, the release said.

“This is a somber reminder to the rest of the community. In all likelihood, these will not be our only deaths from the virus,” Desnick said. “We know how to stop the spread of this virus. Now is the time for each of us to do everything we can to help.”

Park County had 52 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, which according to the release is “by far the most recorded in a single day.”

According to the state of Montana’s COVID-19 case map, Park County has recorded 456 total cases so far during the pandemic, with 198 cases active as of Monday.

COVID-19 is spreading in a variety of ways, according to the release, and the best way to prevent the spread is to stay home whenever possible, wear masks in public and not have social gatherings.

Two Gardiner School students have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Friday Gardiner School District press release.

The students are in isolation, the release said, and were already in quarantine after being identified as close contacts with previous positive cases at the school.

One staff member has been identified as a close contact, the release said.

There has not been any transmission of COVID-19 at Gardiner School during regular school hours, the release said.

As of Sunday, LHC was between 70% and 90% full, according to the state of Montana’s hospital occupancy report.

The state of Montana has not reported any evidence of community spread in Park County as of press time.

Monday’s updated COVID-19 numbers from the state were not available at press time.