Coronavirus In Great Falls?

The Facebook post previously linked in this blog post has either been removed or restricted in the privacy settings on the owners Facebook page.

Stay tuned for further developments and updates on local news, information, and events concerning the covid-19 issue and stay safe, everyone!


    • The piece links to a social media post, which contains questions, thoughts, and yes, information. Your comment is affirmatively misleading and obviously untrue. Not your best drive-by, Tim!

  1. I sent KRTV a long story of what happened. In hopes they would at least inform the general public of the poor practices going on at benefis.

  2. And people wonder why the general public doesn’t trust media outlets …. but they will make damn sure you cannot pay your bills or leave your house. They will tell you there is no virus in our county but … then again a lot of people have been sick for weeks with an upper respiratory illness. So who gets the ball in this? The government? The local leaders or the hospitals?

  3. You’re supposed to call your primary care physician before you ever show up to the ER. And I believe they have to have a note from the doctor then CDC dose the testing benefits does not have the test. My question is did he have a flu shot if not that’s probably what he’s got and if he’s had it after a certain length of time the body’s own immune system kicks in. my son did this three weeks ago and I was before we had any cases of coronavirus whatsoever in the state of Montana but first and foremost he did not have a flu shot and more than likely had the flu and or influenza A neither test would confirm or deny. He had this for a good week before he went in because he was having finals in college. I personally believe that anybody is that sick should be checked for the coronavirus regardless of their age but I know that they’re looking more people 60 and older.

      • Reading the actual article is for chumps, responding first is more important. Well, that and giving your supremely qualified non medical education opinions.

    • I have never once had the flu shot. Nor will I ever have one. I am also pretty sick, and out of curiosity was tested for the flu along with every other virus they can test for. All negative. So just because someone doesnt get a flu shot, doesnt mean they would probably have the flu. I have never had influenza

  4. You claim to raise questions in this article. Allow me to raise the same “questions” that you have and show how the tables can be turned on you because you can’t practice basic journalism.

    -You’ve taken the word of one person who made a facebook post. As a journalist, did you reach out and ask for the son’s name? Maybe a copy of the discharge instructions? That’d include the Dr.’s name and diagnosis. That’d give you a name and face to put on this, and if Benefis really did this, I suspect that OP would be open to helping you have more proof.

    -Your “Editor” Rick is in the city government, and would be in a position to ask some questions of Benefis and people in CCHD. No mention of reaching out to them and getting a “no comment”. Did you even ask? If so, why is this not in your storm?

    -This person implies that Benefis would profit from more sick people, yet isn’t it convenient that the actual for-profit facility is the clinic, and they did the testing?

    You’ve now signal-boosted a non-verified, viral post that is going to make Benefis and others waste time chasing everything down themselves. If you could obtain the instructions from the OP, Benefis could at least get on this immediately and find out what went down, if anything at all. And even if they can trace down this accusation, they will not be able to say what might satisfy this because of HIPPA.

    Thanks for helping spread fear. I’ll remember this when you start complaining about the city government here, and how “corrupt” it is.

    • Elton,

      – “Taken the word” of the author? No, we just shared it, and asked questions ourselves in the body of the piece. It’s not for us to decide, and again, we didn’t. Our readers, including you, can draw their own conclusions.

      – Rick Tryon is not the Editor of E-City Beat.

      – The theme of the piece was to ask questions, important ones, that affect our community. Why are you so enraged by such inquiries?

      • ECB Staff,

        – So in the interest of sharing accurate information, did ECB do anything to verify the story such as request documents that would support the author of the post you shared? That seems like something that would be beneficial in a time of a pandemic to ensure that you are only providing accurate information.

        – Is there a reason that the author is using the ECB Staff account, rather than the name of one of the staff writers? In case you are unaware Rick Tryon states that he provided this information to the ECB, which is why his name is probably being connected to this story. It seems interesting that the ECB is asking the same style of questions that Rick does on his Facebook, and it is also interesting that a publication that he used to use in the past is now posting under an anonymous account for an issue like this.

        – The three questions you posted seem to be pushing for panic. “Brushed off by Benefis” seems like it is pointing a finger without evidence. The same goes for the question about the City Health Commission. Perhaps, before spreading panic, this publication should reach out to the hospital and ask for clarification and verify their testing policy for covid to verify that the post was accurate.

        I cannot stress this enough, as an outlet that some people look to for accurate news, it is important that you verify your sources, and only post accurate information

        • Trent,

          Benefis is not about to commit a HIPAA violation and share medical records of any patient. Nor will the CCHD (which you know, of course).

          Again, the aim of the piece was to ask questions — consequential ones, in our view — not to take a position. Our questions themselves amplified the content presented in the post; they did not affirm it.

          If you are suggesting that there are inaccuracies here, now would be the time to substantiate them.

          • ECB Staff,

            Absolutely. The discharge instructions that Elton talked about would be within the possession of the son of the person that posted to FB. If they provide that to the public that is not a HIPAA violation, and that provides evidence to the claim of visiting the doctor, instructions, and symptoms. It will also give a doctor name, that you could reach out to the Hospital and request that they investigate.

            The point here is that your post as a news outlet should require some verification, rather than an unsubstantiated claim that you immediately distance yourself on.

            I again request the name of the author for this piece, as well as the sources that they used to verify that this isn’t a member of the government giving a complaint the trappings of legitimacy.

          • First, you whine that we should get Benefis’ side, which you immediately and correctly concede is impossible. Then, you insist that we need to get more information from the original source? Which is it? Do you have a third position?

            Further, if it were a “member of the government giving a complaint,” with the intent of, as you say, offering the “trappings of legitimacy,” doesn’t it stand to reason that we would then name that alleged member of government? We have no agenda here, beyond asking what we feel are sincere questions. Finally, since you are so focused on names and identities, who are you, “Trent,” and what is your relationship (if any) to Benefis?

            By the way, for someone so concerned with “verification,” it is absolutely absurd to suggest as you have, without evidence, and yourself an anonymous commenter, that this piece was written by a government official.

          • ECB Staff,

            I just find things interesting. Example, you deny any tie to Rick Tryon, but Rick says that he provided you the information and the story via his facebook. You commented back to Tim Hodges in a very unprofessional manner, but one that uses similar tactics that Rick uses on his Facebook page when someone makes a criticism of him, or the president. You also have yet to answer any question about the source for this, and your piece doesn’t stand up to any level of skepticism.

            Without even contacting Benefis, this is publicly posted on their page setting forward what their policy is

            The smallest amount of research would have found that the behavior was inconsistent with their policy. I don’t have a relationship with Benefis, other than living in Great Falls, and using them as a healthcare provider when necessary, but it is truly disturbing that the ECB Staff member, so adamant on defending this piece of “journalism” is unwilling to do any research or write an actual article.

            I also find it disturbing that this ECB Staff member gets quoted a lot by Rick Tryon on his page, with similar articles, and that Rick and the staff member are always so quick to use the same defenses of their pieces.

            I have provided more evidence and research on this than you have, including finding that in the comment thread on the Facebook status that you shared that a person working with the County Health department did ask the mother to reach out to her via phone or email and the mother refused to do so.

            By all means, expecting research to be done, and some level of transparency from a new source, clearly appears to be too much to ask from you. I hope that you have a good day, and I hope that people do not panic based off this article.

      • Rick Tryon certainly called her a liar and had to walk back his comments. If Tracy Houcke or other females they don’t like did the same thing Rick did ECB would be calling for their head! Typical ECB favoritism for their own.

        • Exactly, I have no idea how this went from a medical thing to sexism; this is about people male and female —ridiculous

      • Why would that be sexism? I’m not even commenting on if true or false..why do you jump from lying to sexism???? Political correctness is gone way to far!!! You are labeling someone for no reason and that is prejudice!!!

      • Hi Jay, what is exactly do you mean by Benefis did it to you in Great Falls? We’re you having symptoms and tried to get tested? Help us out with what happened to you please not questioning in a negative sense just wanting more information. Thank you!

  5. Very similar situations in Gallatin county, makes me think its a state wide problem. Have symptoms but no travel or contact with someone who tested positive = no test.

  6. I really think you should have contacted the Montana Health and Human Services department before you spread fear and panic.You do know that we only have a certain amount of tests in the state right now? 109 tests were conducted on Monday alone! We only have 750 left in the state. I know in more rural counties like the one I work in, we got SEVEN total test kits. Until the private biotech companies get those test kits mass produced and sent out around the country we have to use our resources carefully. So we test people who meet certain criteria based on the CDCs criteria, not CCHD, not Benefis. It’s based off likelihood of coming into contact with someone that has covid, known contact with a covid patient. But also based off of your likelihood that you’d suffer grave illness or death if you contracted coronavirus. When we test, when we have limited resources as a healthcare provider we ask “will the test results change my plan of care for the patient?” If the answer is no, then you don’t do it otherwise You’re wasting resources. To date worldwide there’s no reported death related to coronavirus in children under the age of 10. So using one of the limited swabs on a child who doesn’t have multiple comorbidities would not be wise until we get a surplus of tests because will the results of the test change the course of treatment for that child? No unless they are not stable (low oxygen, a temp that can’t be controlled with Tylenol or Motrin, dehydration, elevated respiratory rate) then they would be hospitalized. But we do know that the majority of children recover fully at home. Would a test change the plan of care for an elderly patient or a person with COPD or diabetes? Yes. They’d be hospitalized and have their chronic conditions monitored. But you’d already know all these things had you done some actual investigation.

    • So am I reading your response correctly that if we don’t have enough tests then we shouldn’t make any comments because we might cause people to be afraid? help me understand your post.
      And I’m not sure why you explain about Tylenol, Motrin, care of elderly. what does that have to do with the original post? I don’t understand honestly; I’m just asking questions. It is hard to get informed and accurate decision if people fly off the handle on or angry regardless of what someone else does.

  7. Does anyone know why testing in MT has 3 day turn around while other parts of country have drive in testing with results in 15 minutes. Any ideas?

    • That’s a question for the governor on why Montana is not allowed to test in public and private laboratories which is what New York is allowed to do. Instead all tests have to be sent to the Montana State Lab which gets back logged. 3-4 day turnaround was common in New York before they allowed more labs to run tests. Now the turnaround time is 24-48 hours in New York. And when Roche (who got emergent FDA approval to produce test kits last Friday) gets their new tests produced the turnaround time on those will be 4 hours. So the question for Montana HHS and the governor is when will labs like Quest or other private labs In the state of Montana be able to start running tests? I don’t know the policy behind that but that’s your answer as to why result turnaround time is faster in other states. That 15 minute thing is about how long it takes to screen you, have a provider assess you and get specimens collected, it’s not the actual turnaround time for results.

    • This is because the testing has to be done at the state lab in Helena. They have limited resources, so until some of the bigger medical centers in MT can perform the testing that’s where we are. Faster tests are being developed.

  8. This is by far not the only case like this. I won’t say who my doctor is, but she told me she tried to get a patient tested in Billings earlier this month and they refused. I’m absolutely sure there are far more cases then is being reported. The good news is, if your young and in good health, you will most likely be better in a week or less. The bad news is, how many will be infected and not even know it. Prayers for all.

  9. I don’t have any symptoms of cold, flu or coronovirus but am nearly 70 years old, and did injure myself Sunday, and am in need of medical attention. I called the Benefis Northwest Clinic since I have been their before and their website said that they had a time-slot open toward the end of that day. They wouldn’t see me but directed me to the main hospital and, if not there, to the Emergency Room at Benefis. My injury, while extremely uncomfortable and painful, is not life-threatening. I could tell by the indifferent answers given by the woman who answered the phone, that they weren’t interested in seeing or treating me, and neither were employees at the other two locations. I found this odd and disappointing. Is there more going on in our medical community than they want to tell us?

  10. Imagine they presume its covid but dont test for it. They could have misdiagnosed someone and told them to go home for 14 days and shut up. Perhaps it was a respiratory infection instead. 14 days later the good sheep is dead. Theres so many things it could be that isnt covid. Stop making lame excuses . That doctor knew it was wrong when he did it.

  11. I certainly get the frustration of not being able to be tested. But the doctor did tell him that he thinks he’s infected. How much more certain would he be with the test result?

    What we have to keep in mind, is that right now it’s a backlog for test. If things were to get out of hand here like they did in Italy, then it would be a backlog for beds and respirators.

    Instead of getting on the doctors in the folks at benefis for just following CDC guidelines on who gets tested, maybe we should be asking our local officials why non-essential businesses are allowed to remain open. Looking at other states in the nation we know that these businesses will eventually be closed due to the health emergency. None of these small businesses or maybe even the larger ones, are going to survive without federal government intervention. Delaying their closure by two weeks or even four weeks, will have no effect on the eventual outcome for those businesses financially. It could however, have a huge impact on the health outcomes of our community.

    Although I do believe that the virus is already here in circulating amongst our population, I still think we have a chance to get ahead of it, and learn from surrounding states. The time to act is now.

  12. He thinks hes infected. How much more certain would he be with the test. Answer: 100% more certain. If the test ruled out covid, would he have been told to go home? Probably not. They would have treated him for what he had.
    The way it went down. That doctor sent him away without knowing what he had and told him to stay home. Stay home, miss work for 2 weeks because we dont want to swab your nose and send it to a lab. I would have asked for a different doctor.

    • Another case of a medical expert giving his amazing wisdom without reading the facts.


      Your ignorance to what the CDC is just shines in this post. The CDC sure as hell doesn’t want benefis to push out potential covid patients in their busiest area. But I guess, they are so back logged that it makes sense. Too busy to open the doors and keep him segregated from the sick eldery in the waiting room.

      In fact, I’m starting to think you work for Benefis.

  13. The false-negative rate for tests so far has been reported to be between 10 and 50% depending on which published study and which type of testing you look at.

    False positive rates, although not as high as false negatives, have also been an issue.

    This is why they’re having to use multiple tests per individual.

  14. Horrible example of “journalism”, which definitely implies the hospital has something to gain and thus wants the virus spread. Just an article to spread panic and fear. No real facts. Disgusting.

  15. This is happening in all states, there aren’t enough tests to test everyone and there wont be for some time. If you haven’t been in direct contact with someone that has been diagnosed with the virus, and you haven’t traveled out of country, have no underlining conditions, and if you are not over 60 they will probably not test you till you are having major breathing issues. That is why they are doing all the shut downs and self quarantines, to help keep it from traveling so fast. They don’t want you to go to your primary doctor if you are having flu symptoms for they don’t have the tests, your doctor will tell you to call benefis or the clinic to find out what to do. Most of us will get some form of this. You are most contagious they say before you ever get symptoms. This whole thing just goes to prove no one in the world is really prepared for anything major.

  16. I call BS!! If he actually “HAD” symptoms they would test him. Many people want to be tested ‘just in case’ even without any symptoms at all. There are limited tests avail right now. This woman’s claim is simply “hear say” . Benefis set up a call center to help people understand COVID19 and the testing process. Someone can’t just state they have the symptoms they have to be thoroughly examined by a medical professional. If it was determined the patient was an actual risk of having COVID 19, they would be tested for it, like many other people already have been tested and so far all results came back negative. The state lab shouldn’t waste valuable testing on paranoid hypochondriacs. Also: there isn’t even an ER nor walkin service avail at 500 15th ave south location aka west campus. This article looks more like someone blowing things way out of proportion because she didn’t get her way and is trying to stir up unnecessary panic.

  17. I used to respect this publication. Thank you for showing me that I shouldn’t. Why won’t the author take credit for his “work”. Being a Facebook soldier does not constitute journalism.

  18. First off this is not a true statement of any kind! Check This is why there are empty shelves and so many people in a state of hysteria! Someone ‘claiming’ to have covid 19 doesn’t make it true! Read through the entire post and come on people really!!! That post should be reported and removed! ENOUGH!!!

  19. Good lord what a pathetic rage outlet this “blog” is for you, Phil. Maybe find a new hobby that isn’t just a hack mirror of garbage facebook propaganda, you’re embarrassing yourself.


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