Montana Public Radio

Big Sky Construction Site Finds 100+ COVID-19 Cluster

Aug 3, 2020
Originally published on October 3, 2020 12:32 pm

Over 100 people connected to a construction site at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club in Big Sky tested positive for COVID-19 in July.

According to the County Health Officer Matt Kelley, CrossHarbor Capital, the owner of the Yellowstone Club and a parent company of Spanish Peaks Mountain Club and Moonlight Basin, hired a private company called Matrix Medical to do surveillance testing, follow-up with people who tested positive and perform contact tracing.

Kelley said 20 percent of the initial round of tests from July 8th came back positive and have since dropped to around 5 percent. So far there have been 116 cases.

“The numbers are concerning and impressive, and I wouldn’t ever try to minimize that. I would say that we’re getting really good communication and cooperation from everybody up at Big Sky,” Kelley said.

He said it was complicated in the beginning. The state health lab wanted to confirm the actual testing of the nasal swabs by an out-of-state company called Biocerna was accurate.

“So there was a process we had to go through to re-test some of the folks to make sure the results we were getting were valid. It took us some time to get them connected to the state health department so that those cases could be reported out to the counties,” he said.

Kelley said initially some tests were inconclusive and not all of the results were assigned an address, just a P.O. box, which he said delayed contact tracing. It was also difficult because most of the workers commute in from several different counties.Kelley said he wants Matrix Medical to continue surveillance testing at Big Sky now that the process is smoothed out, and he said it’s good that there’s more testing capacity in the state.

“Our testing system is getting bigger and more complicated," he added.

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