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A Montana nursing home turned down free Covid-19 tests. Now, almost every resident is infected and 8 have died

July 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Canyon Creek Memory Care, an assisted-living facility in Billings Montana, had the option to get free, voluntary surveillance testing for residents and staff offered by the state of Montana in May but declined, health officials say. Now, almost all of the facility's residents and some staff have Covid-19 and 8 residents have died of the disease, officials say.

(CNN)An assisted living facility in Billings, Montana, was offered free, voluntary surveillance coronavirus testing for residents and staff by the state of Montana in June but declined, health officials say.

Now, almost all of the residents and some staff at Canyon Creek Memory Care have Covid-19, and eight residents have died of the disease, according to officials.

On June 30, one resident of Canyon Creek began to show symptoms of Covid-19, Chase Salyers, a spokesman for Koelsch Senior Communities, the company that runs the facility, told CNN.

Those tests revealed that of the 59 Canyon Creek residents and 55 staff who were tested, 43 residents and 15 staff were positive for Covid-19, the company said last week.

At least 55 residents and 36 staff members have now tested positive, Pat Zellar, a spokeswoman for RiverStone Health, Yellowstone County's public health department, told CNN.

The facility was offered free tests by the state of Montana on June 16, Salyers confirmed.

However, Salyers said the state's testing program "would not actually have tested all residents, but a limited sampling of individuals within the community. "

"Moreover, since the beginning of the outbreak, residents in our community were already being tested, and all of those test results were negative," Salyers added.

"Any of our residents who displayed symptoms since the outbreak started were being promptly referred for testing," Salyers said.

The state of Montana has reported only 34 deaths due to Covid-19 to date, according to state data.

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