Montana Public Radio

Yellowstone County Inmate Tests Positive For COVID-19

May 27, 2020
Originally published on May 27, 2020 6:57 pm

An inmate at a county jail in southern Montana has tested positive for the COVID-19 illness.

Yellowstone County Detention Facility announced via press release on May 27. The timeline of the woman’s illness indicates she was likely infected while in the jail.

Sheriff Mike Linder says the female inmate in her 30’s was moved to an isolation unit on May 21 after reporting medical distress. On May 22, she was transported to a Billings hospital for treatment and was tested for the COVID-19 illness. Her test returned positive on May 26. 

Contact tracing has begun and Linder says inmates and staff who worked in the unit with the woman who tested positive will be tested starting Friday. There are more than 400 inmates currently in the facility.

Linder says this is the only case the facility is aware of, but adds there could be more in the future.

Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office met with county health officials on May 27 to discuss additional measures that can be taken, including additional testing, sanitizing, quarantining and mask use.

Linder says 28 inmates tested negative for the virus prior to this case. A Yellowstone County Detention Facility guard tested positive in March.

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