The Cascade City-County Health Department (CCCHD) notified Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS) on Saturday of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Great Falls High School (GFHS).
They are the first confirmed coronavirus cases at GFHS.
School will still resume as usual on Tuesday, according to a Saturday night news release. The school building and classrooms will be sanitized over the holiday weekend by GFPS and CCHD staff. The district's nursing team and school administrators are working to conduct contract tracing, the release says.
No information was released about the students' ages.
Great Falls High School has more than 1,400 students and nearly 200 staff members.
The district announced its back-to-school plan in July, after pivoting to remote learning in the middle of the spring semester, when the coronavirus pandemic gripped Cascade County. The plan is a hybrid of mostly face-to-face learning and an option for remote instruction; it's similar to plans released by many public school districts around Montana and the country.
Most students in GFPS are required to wear masks when possible, especially when social distancing is not achievable, according to the draft plan. Students and staff are responsible for monitoring their health on a daily basis and submitting themselves to regular COVID-19 testing. In school buildings, visitors are limited.
GFPS encourages students and staff who feel sick and are exhibiting flu-like symptoms to stay home from school.
Cascade County reported 338 total coronavirus cases on Saturday, nine new cases and 173 active cases, according to the state's coronavirus tracking map. There have been five COVID-related deaths in Cascade County.
We will update you when we learn more.
As of Friday, September 4, the official Montana COVID-19 website reports the following:
- TOTAL CASES & RECOVERIES: Montana now reports 8,019 cumulative cases statewide, with 5,821 people recovered.
- HOSPITALIZATIONS: There are 150 patients hospitalized, and a total of 474 hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
- ACTIVE CASES: The state reports there are currently 2,084 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.
- DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Montana is 114.
- TESTING: The number of new tests is 4,328, for a cumulative total of 259,998 tests since March.
The federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released data last week which emphasize that people with contributing or underlying medical conditions are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. According to the CDC, an estimated 94% of all COVID-related deaths in the nation were people who had contributing medical conditions and diseases.
The CDC report states: "For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." The report states that the most common underlying medical conditions that contributed to COVID-related deaths include respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, asthma, COPD, and influenza; diabetes; hyptertensive diseases; and heart disease. Click here to read the complete report on the CDC website.