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129 new COVID-19 cases in Montana
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129 new COVID-19 cases in Montana

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The state reported adding 129 new laboratory-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, the fourth-highest single day case growth reported in Montana.

Forty-six Montanans have died of the virus. The state reported 43 deaths Thursday, and Canyon Creek Memory Care facility in Billings announced an additional death Thursday evening after the state updated its data dashboard.

The two additional deaths reported Friday are in Glacier and Lake counties, according to state data. The death in Glacier County was a woman in her 80s. Lake County did not provide information about the person who died there.

More than 3,000 Montanans have been sickened by the virus. There were 1,178 active cases Friday statewide and 1,815 people have recovered. To be counted as recovered on the state's dashboard, a person must no longer be in isolation, test negative for the virus following their illness and no longer be able to spread the virus to others.

Montana reported testing an additional 2,982 people between Thursday and Friday, for a total of 149,200 tested statewide this year.

Montana recently stopped sending tests to Quest Diagnostics, the private lab it contracted with to run tests for asymptotic people collected at surveillance events. Many of those events around the state have been canceled while the governor's office and state health department work to build back capacity. 

Starting as early as next week, Montana State University is expected to begin processing tests at its Bozeman campus and the state has also finalized a contract with MAKO, another private lab in North Carolina.

The governor's office said this week that before the state stopped sending asymptotic test to Quest, about 0.3% of samples sent there came back positive.

At the state lab, where tests for symptomatic people and close contacts are sent, about 3% of samples have been coming back positive.

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