Western Montana virus outbreak tied to luxury golf club
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — An outbreak of COVID-19 in western Montana is tied to an exclusive golf and country club developed by financial executive Charles Schwab, club officials said.
Eight people who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in Ravalli County are employees of the Stock Farm Club near Hamilton, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Steve Buck said Friday.
“When one employee wasn’t feeling well, we immediately notified the Ravalli County Health Department for guidance and closed the Stock Farm,” Buck said in a statement. The club reopened Friday, he said.
The first person who fell ill, a man in his 50s, was hospitalized on May 17. He was released Saturday, Buck said.
The county tested other Stock Farm Club employees who worked and lived in close proximity with the man. Seven more tested positive and were isolated, the county said.
County officials have said those seven additional cases involved two men in their 60s, two in their 20s and three between the ages of 10 and 19. None of them had any symptoms, Buck said Saturday.
Club officials thanked the Ravalli County Health Department for its immediate and thorough response. The health department had said it was believed the first person who tested positive had contracted the respiratory virus outside the county.
The club, which opened in 1999, includes homesites and offers a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a clubhouse, horseback riding and shooting sports along with a pool, fitness classes, tennis and hiking.
Other members of the Stock Farm Club have included musician Huey Lewis, broadcaster Brent Musburger and former Boeing president and CEO Jim McNerney.
Montana reported no new cases of COVID-19 Saturday from among nearly 800 tests run on Friday. The state has had 479 confirmed and 22 known active cases, including the eight in Ravalli County.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.