The Montana Department of Health and Human Services reported a third COVID-19 case in Jefferson County on Monday, but at least one local official complained that the information was misleading.

The 50-year old man is a Jefferson County resident, but contracted the virus outside the state, said Karen Wandel, RN, department supervisor for Jefferson County Public Health. The man was diagnosed outside the state and hasn’t been in Montana for several weeks, she said. 

The man is not hospitalized, she said. 

The man also hasn’t had contact with anyone in Montana, according to the Jefferson County Health Department.

It’s confusing to the public, said Doug Dodge, Jefferson County disaster and emergency services coordinator at the weekly county incident planning meeting 

“It amps everyone up needlessly,” he said, adding that the health department’s been getting phone calls. 

Wandel said that a similar situation happened for Montana’s first case in early March. It was a woman who lived in Lake County, but hadn’t been in Montana for some time and contracted it elsewhere. 

The two previous cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County were residents living here at the time. Those cases were in March and both residents have since recovered. 

The state reported 459 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday, May 11. Of those, there have been 16 deaths and 423 who have recovered. 

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