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Montana Gov. Gianforte tests positive for COVID-19

Montana Gov. Gianforte tests positive for COVID-19

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Gov. Greg Gianforte, left, and Senate President Sen. Mark Basdel, ring the replica USS Montana

Gov. Greg Gianforte, left, and Senate President Mark Blasdel ring the replica USS Montana submarine bell during a ceremony at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, according to a release from his office.

The Republican governor who took office in January had mild symptoms Sunday and was tested Monday in Gallatin County. He received the positive result later in the day.

Gianforte, 59, will quarantine for 10 days, following his doctor's and public health guidance, according to the release. He will work from his home in Bozeman during that time, the release said.

The governor notified all of his close contacts, the release said, though it did not specify how many people that included. 

In an email late Monday, a spokesperson said the last public events Gianforte held were Thursday evening.

"He has been in close contact with one staff member, a member of his protective detail, family members, and friends who he had dinner with," Brooke Stroyke wrote in an email.

Gianforte also attended Easter service at his church before he had symptoms, Stroyke said, "and had no close contacts there aside from members of his family." Stroyke added Gianforte wore a mask at church.

Gianforte and his staff have been regularly tested since taking office, and his staff will be tested early Tuesday, according to the release.

Stroyke also said it's not known how Gianforte contracted the virus. First lady Susan Gianforte was also tested and is awaiting the results, according to the release.

Last Thursday, Gianforte received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a Helena pharmacy. While the Pfizer vaccine is about 95% effective a person does not get immunity until two weeks after their second dose, meaning Gianforte tested positive before immunity would have taken effect.

Gianforte has advocated for Montanans to get vaccinated to speed reaching herd immunity and as protection for those at risk of severe outcomes from the virus.

In February, after the Legislature passed a bill to give businesses and others legal protections over exposure to the virus and the state began vaccinating those most vulnerable, Gianforte lifted the statewide mask mandate

Gianforte campaigned on personal responsibility over government measures, emphasizing the economic fallout of the pandemic.

While the governor has been seen wearing masks in press conferences and other public venues, he has also posted at least one photo to his Twitter account with others indoors and unmasked.

On Monday night, a spokesperson for the Legislature's COVID-19 panel said there are no known legislative close contacts the panel is aware of at this point. So far six lawmakers have tested positive for the virus since the session started in January.

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State reporter

State Bureau reporter for Lee Newspapers of Montana.

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