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Lewis and Clark County will provide COVID-19 contact tracing for Montana Legislature

Montana State Capitol
Posted at 9:13 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 23:13:53-05

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County has officially entered into a contract agreement with the state to provide COVID-19 contact tracing at the Montana Legislature.

The county commissioners unanimously approved the deal Tuesday morning that will see the state pay the county up to $7,000 to support per contact tracer for the Legislature. The individual will be solely dedicated to tracking any cases from state lawmakers or legislative staff.

Public Health Officer Drenda Niemann told the commission the nature of the legislature provides unique challenges, and the contact tracer will need to be able to work with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and other public health agencies across the state.

“Legislators come and go from the community as the session progresses. They don’t all just stay here throughout the course of the session, which means that there’ll be impacts both here in Lewis and Clark County and as well as their home counties,” explained Niemann.

The state will also provide support staff for the position to help them determine whom a person’s close contacts at the State Capitol may have been.

So far there have been two confirmed COVID cases associated with the Montana Legislature since the session began on Jan. 4.

Rep. David Bedey, R-Hamilton, was the first to have a positive test. Bedey had been attending in-person but was wearing a mask. Rep. Fiona Nave, R-Columbus, was the second to show a positive test, although she has been attending the legislative session remotely.