COVID-19 was the cause of death for a man and woman found dead in their Helena apartment this week, authorities said.
After a friend of the married couple requested a welfare check, the Helena Police Department responded to the apartment in the 900 block of Gibbon Street just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton said both people were 69 years old, and authorities believe they died on Saturday night.
Following an autopsy, the cause of death was determined to be COVID-19 and the manner of death was listed as natural.
Dutton said the couple was not vaccinated against COVID-19. He also said the man and woman did not get tested for the disease or seek medical attention after they were infected, and authorities do not know why.
Lewis and Clark Public Health reported that 148 people in Lewis and Clark County had died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. Of the 12,287 cases reported in the county so far, 454 remain active.
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The health department reported 58% of the county's total eligible population is fully vaccinated, 66% is partially vaccinated and 22% has received a booster dose so far. The total eligible population of 66,257 includes all county residents age 5 and older.
Editor Jesse Chaney can be reached at 406-447-4074, or find him on Twitter: @IR_JesseChaney.