An alleged fourth case of COVID-19 in Jefferson County turned out to be a false positive, according to the county Health Department. 

The reversal came July 1, four days after the initial announcement.

The Health Department declined to provide any further information, such as why the woman received further testing, which revealed the false positive, and if she had been hospitalized for COVID-19 type symptoms or another condition. The Health Department did not indicate what type of COVID-19 test was used, but did say that the tests are not 100% accurate.

While the false positive was a relief for Jefferson County residents, Gov. Steve Bullock held a press conference on July 2 to encourage Montanans to wear face masks as cases were rising in the state. 

“It’s clear Montanans have let their guard down,” he said, and described how six weddings in 

five counties led to two dozen infections. Other cases have been attributed to bar settings, he said. 

Bullock said eight Montana counties, to include Lewis and Clark, have indicated that there is some community spread of the disease. 

Bullock was joined by Todd O’Hare, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, who also called for the use of face masks while in public. 

Jefferson County has reported three positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic hit the United States in March. Two cases were diagnosed in March and those individuals recovered. The third man was diagnosed out of state and had not been in Montana or had contact with anyone in the state prior to being diagnosed, but has a residence here. 

The Montana Department of  Public Health and Human Services on Monday reported 1,249 cases of COVID-19 with 23 deaths since the state began keeping data on the disease in March. 

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