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Bullock, Cooney test negative for COVID-19
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Bullock, Cooney test negative for COVID-19

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Bullock

Earlier this month, Gov. Steve Bullock talks with John Freer, the sustainable construction technology program director at Missoula College, and students Cody Herbert, left, and Amanda Parker at the college's carpentry program building.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney have both tested negative for the novel coronavirus after a staff member in the governor's office tested positive for the virus.

The news came after Bullock's office canceled an event set for Wednesday at the state Capitol in Helena to discuss the open enrollment period for health insurance.

In an email to reporters Wednesday, press secretary Erin Loranger said neither Bullock or Cooney were considered close contacts of the staff member.

The staff member was tested after they showed symptoms of the virus and was not in the office this week. The email did not say when the staff member was tested or first felt sick.

"The governor is not a close contact of this individual and has not been in sustained in-person contact with the individual in the last two weeks," Loranger wrote. "Out of an abundance of caution, the governor took a test today, and the test came back negative."

The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Greg Holzman, determined that since Bullock is not a close contact and tested negative, he did not need to quarantine, Loranger wrote.

Bullock will "continue to be regularly tested over the next few days," Loranger wrote. Those results will be released.

There are four staff members in the governor's office that are considered close contacts to the positive case and will quarantine. The four have been tested, the results of which have not come back yet.

"This is another reminder that anyone can contract this virus. In our office, we wear masks and nurses take temperature checks on all staff every morning. Everyone must take this virus seriously — it is real, and we all need to act with our fellow Montanans in mind," Loranger wrote in the email.

Bullock, a Democrat, is running in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.

Cooney, also a Democrat, is running for governor. He was tested for COVID-19 earlier this month, a test which came back negative. Cooney's test was promoted by participating in an in-person debate against his opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte. The debate was a few days after Gianforte attended an event in Helena that the county health department later tied to positive cases and urged attendees to watch for symptoms.

Gianforte said his health care provider told him he did not need to be tested and he did not show symptoms following the event.

Nearly 30,000 Montanans have been sickened by the virus and the state reported Wednesday that 325 have died. There are more than 10,100 active cases statewide and 374 people are actively hospitalized.

This story will be updated.

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State reporter

State Bureau reporter for Lee Newspapers of Montana.

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