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Montana reports 4 more cases Sunday; first 'community spread' instances in Gallatin
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Montana reports 4 more cases Sunday; first 'community spread' instances in Gallatin

Four more coronavirus cases were diagnosed Sunday, including three in Gallatin county and one in Yellowstone County, bringing the total number of cases to 34 statewide. 

Gallatin County announced three new cases on Sunday. One of them, a female in her 30s who had been tested in a different county, plus three of the county's Saturday diagnoses, mark the first known instances of community spread in Montana. 

The other two Sunday Gallatin cases were from individuals exposed to the virus outside Montana. A female in her 50s and another female in her 70s are both currently isolated and in good condition, according to county officials. 

Gallatin County currently has the most confirmed cases — 10 — of any county in Montana. 

Yellowstone County has the second-highest number of confirmed cases after a sixth individual was diagnosed on Sunday. Information on this individual was not readily available on Sunday evening. 

Barbara Schneeman, vice president of communication and public affairs at RiverStone Health, said health officials are working to gather information on the individual, but no further information was expected until Monday. 

No other counties announced newly diagnosed cases on Sunday. Missoula County currently remains at four confirmed cases. Lewis and Clark and Cascade counties have three confirmed cases. Flathead and Silver Bow counties have two confirmed cases. Ravalli, Roosevelt, Madison  and Broadwater counties each have a single confirmed case. 

In the upcoming week, schools, universities and many businesses will remain closed on orders from Gov. Steve Bullock. Many restaurants have transitioned to take-out orders only and bars and casinos are closed. 

Health officials recommend avoiding large gatherings, washing hands regularly and working from home if possible. 

With Gallatin County having the first confirmed cases of community spread, it is important that people minimize risk to avoid further spreading of the virus. Gallatin Health Officer Matt Kelley said the biggest enemy of public health is complacency about the virus. 

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