Care home refused free tests. Now, nearly everyone has virus
July 15, 2020
BILLINGS, Mont. - It was meant to be a last line of defense to protect the most vulnerable as the coronavirus spread across the United States: Montana officials offered free testing in May for staff and residents at assisted living and long-term care facilities.
But not all of them followed through, according to state data, including a facility in Billings, Montana's largest city, that cares for people with dementia and other memory problems. The virus has infected almost every resident there and killed eight since July 6, accounting for almost a quarter of Montana's 34 confirmed deaths. Thirty-six employees also have tested positive.
While Montana's rates of confirmed infections and deaths are much lower than other parts of the country, the outbreak at Canyon Creek Memory Care illustrates that even the most simple and common-sense preventive measures have sometimes gone unused during the pandemic, allowing the virus to sweep through elderly care facilities with devastating results.