With Montana COVID cases on the rise, how are recoveries reported?

COVID Generic Coronavirus 1280x720 BLUE.png
Posted at 3:51 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 13:25:24-04

As COVID-19 new cases accumulate daily in Montana, some are wondering what constitutes a recovery in officials reports, and how that factors into the counting of active cases.

In a press conference Thursday morning, Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said that for a person to be classified as recovered they must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of any “fever-reducing medications.”

Felton said patients must also have improvement in respiratory function and be at least 10 days from the onset of any COVID-19 related symptoms.

“If those three conditions are met, then the person is considered recovered and they are released from isolation," he said.

According to the DPHHS, the CDC does not require follow up testing for individuals to be released from isolation.

Jon Ebelt, a spokesperson for the state health department, said delays in updating active case counts may arise when counties with high case numbers, such as Yellowstone, are not able to reconcile their data with DPHHS as often as others.

Different counties across Montana report daily COVID numbers at different times during, which leads to a natural ebb and flow of the numbers at the state level.

Here's how it works:

  • When health care providers and laboratories report a positive COVID-19 result to local county health departments, that result will trigger an investigation by local health officials.
  • Investigations include contact tracing and notifying close contacts of exposure and health risks associated with the virus. This information is then submitted to the state health department.
  • As a result, reported active cases on any Montana county’s website may, and often do, differ from what the state department has reported for that day.

For more information on state COVID-19 case numbers visit or your county’s website.

Thursday morning, Montana state health officials reported a total of 2,005 active COVID-19 cases from around the state. In addition, 5,803 total COVID-19 recoveries were reported, which included 76 new recovered patients.