The CEO of Community Medical Center, Dr. Dean French, tested positive for COVID-19 on July 23, according to an email he sent to staff.
"I want to share with you all the news that I screened positive for COVID symptoms yesterday (July 22) evening and today (July 23) learned that I do, indeed, have the virus," French wrote. "This unfortunate news comes at a time when you all are working so hard to care for our community and I regret that I will not be able to be onsite at our hospital for a while to support you all in person."
French plans to remain off-campus until cleared by CDC guidelines and will work from home. He wrote that he's lucky to have "manageable symptoms."
"I know that many in our region have not been as fortunate," he wrote. "Contract tracing with all of my close contacts at CMC and external to CMC has been performed, and everyone is asymptomatic and has negative test results. This demonstrates our infection prevention measures at CMC are working."
He said screening, masking, hand hygiene and social distancing appear to have worked in avoiding the spread of the virus.
"This is a testament to the importance of maintaining the safety protocols we have in place and serves as a reminder that we need to be as diligent outside of the hospital as we are within it," he wrote. "We ask that each of you continue to maintain the safety protocols that are in place and closely monitor yourselves for symptoms. I appreciate the care this team provides for our patients every day and thank you for your continued compassion and caring in the face of these extraordinary circumstances."
In an email to the Missoulian on Monday, Megan Condra, CMC's director of marketing and community relations, confirmed the news.
"He is currently experiencing only mild symptoms and plans to work from home, collaborating with the rest of our leadership team to ensure CMC’s continued smooth operations," Condra said. "Contact tracing for all of Dr. French’s close contacts has been performed, and at this point, everyone is asymptomatic and has had negative test results. This situation demonstrates the importance of the infection prevention measures in place at Community Medical Center and underscores how critical observing good hand hygiene, social distancing and masking is across our community."