Bozeman Health Deaconness Hospital is shown in this Chronicle file photo. 

Someone who recently arrived in Bozeman from mainland China is in isolation at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and is being monitored for potential signs of coronavirus.

The person, who has not been identified publicly, is sick with an undiagnosed illness, according to a Gallatin City-County Health Department news release Monday.

Health officials called the evaluation a precautionary measure as the tally of people infected by the outbreak that began in China increases.

Matt Kelley, health officer with Gallatin City-County Health Department, said the concern of someone infected isn’t a surprise, adding the department has been “preparing for this situation.”

“Just because someone is not feeling well does not mean they have novel coronavirus,” Kelley said. “But we are using an abundance of caution so that risk to others is minimized. Now is the time for vigilance and caution, but the public should know that the risk to others in Montana is very low.”

A lab test will show whether the person has the new version of coronavirus. The results of that test will likely be final later this week, Kelley said.

The person arrived at Bozeman Health sometime after Friday. Health officials declined to give the specific date.

Kelley said the patient called the hospital on their way to get treatment so that they were isolated from others when they arrived at Bozeman Health.

That move follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to isolate sick people who recently returned from China to prevent any chance of the disease spreading.

Kelley said Gallatin City-County Health Department and Bozeman Health are working with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the CDC to coordinate the Bozeman patient’s care and investigate the cause of their illness.

Health departments across the nation are monitoring the health of those who traveled to China during the outbreak to limit the risk of potential exposure.

In Montana, local and state public health officials have evaluated the wellbeing of 10 to 15 people who recently arrived from China — five of whom were in Gallatin County. So far, none of those people have shown symptoms of concern.

The majority of people with a travel history to China who became ill on their return to the U.S. haven’t been diagnosed with coronavirus. As of Monday, CDC reports that roughly 330 people in the U.S. have been tested for coronavirus. Of that, 12 tested positive for the disease.

Health officials in Gallatin County believe the person in isolation had limited exposure to others in town.

“At present, we believe there is a very low risk to anyone in Gallatin County for exposure to novel coronavirus,” according to the release.

As of Feb. 8, the illness has infected more than 34,800 people globally. More than 700 people in China have died.

Katheryn Houghton can be reached at or at 582-2628.

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