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A resident at a senior living facility in Bozeman has tested positive for coronavirus and is being quarantined at the facility.

Jason Smith, chief advancement officer for Bozeman Health, confirmed Wednesday that the Hillcrest Senior Living facility learned about a resident who tested positive the prior evening. A branch of Bozeman Health, the senior living facility is a retirement community where residents can to come and go.

Smith said he was unable to release the age of the person based on federal patient privacy laws. However, he said, it appeared that the resident had contracted COVID-19 outside of the living facility and all of the Bozeman Health facilities.

“There’s no indication of transmission or spread within Hillcrest,” Smith said.

He said the living facility continues to maintain the safety precautions it implemented at the beginning of the pandemic, including mask protocols, visitor restrictions and no dining together. Smith said the facility has suspended all communal activities and beauty shop services.

Officials at the senior living facility are screening staff and residents for symptoms and checking their temperatures. However, Smith said, the facility is only testing staff and residents who show symptoms of the virus.

“They will be tested based on physician order,” he said.

As of Wednesday, 42 people had died from complications from COVID-19. Of the 2,813 cumulative cases in Montana, the state’s coronavirus task force reported, 1,228 were active and there were 52 people in the hospital because of the virus.

Yellowstone County’s health department announced earlier this week that a woman in her 90s died Monday at Canyon Creek Memory Care, marking the 13th person to die there. The facility has turned into a hotspot for new deaths related to the virus this month.

From the beginning of the pandemic, Smith said, the facility has been focused on protecting its employees and patients. Around the country, he said, senior living institutions have been impacted by the virus because of the vulnerable population the facilities serve.

“We’re gong to do all we can to make sure that we do what’s right by our Hillcrest residents to ensure their safety,” Smith said.

Gallatin County health officer Matt Kelley said the health department is looking at contacts inside and out of the facility and that there is “somewhat significant possibility that the case was acquired outside the facility.” He said this is why the health department has been persistent about people wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing as much as possible.

“This is not the first long-term care facility that’s dealt with this, and it likely won’t be the last,” Kelley said, “especially with the level of disease that we’re seeing in the community.”

The more active cases in an area, he said, the more likely it is that someone — an employee or resident of the living facility — could take the disease into a facility like Hillcrest.

Kelley said contact tracers are having conversations with the infected person to get a clear picture of who the person was in contact with and to determine a path forward for additional testing. Because the person is in a living care facility with other people vulnerable to the disease, he said, it does “rise to the top of our priority list.”

“Every health department in the country is concerned about that,” Kelley said. “There’s no way around that.”

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Freddy Monares can be reached at or at 406-582-2630.