Montana facing challenges with providing COVID-19 tests

BILLINGS, Mont. -- In his press conference Wednesday afternoon Governor Bullock announced news about COVID-19 testing in the state saying "On Monday, I learned or was told, Quest Diagnostics will not be able to perform our sentinel surveillance testing for at least 2-3 weeks until they can improve their capacity."

According to Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton, Yellowstone County saw 256 new cases of COVID-19. Felton said in his news conference yesterday that since July 11th, Riverstone Health had administered over 1,000 tests at their testing event at MetraPark last week. He says additional testing has been taking place during weekday morning's at the Shrine Auditorium.

Felton had this to say about testing moving forward in Yellowstone County. 

"For the remainder of this week, we will continue to test people who do not have symptoms at the Shrine.  But we cannot say how long it will take to get those results back.  We simply do not know," says Felton.  "We will also continue to test people who have been identified by Riverstone Health specifically as close contacts to people with COVID-19, as well as anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19." 

Felton says the lab situation continues to change on a daily basis.  He says when he learns new information on testing capacity, he will keep the public informed.

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