116 workers test positive at luxury residential project in Montana

A $400m luxury residential project in the US state of Montana has seen 116 workers test positive for Covid-19 this month, despite what the contractor described as extensive measures to limit the spread.

The outbreak, one of the biggest in Montana, was confirmed by public health officials to Montana Free Press.

Boston-based Suffolk Construction is building the Montage Big Sky development at the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club in Gallatin County. Home prices there start at more than $5m, according to the Free Press.

Suffolk introduced a virus safety regime after six workers tested positive back in March.

This included temperature checks, six-foot social distancing backed by an audible warning system, and extra cleaning.

After another confirmed case, the contractor started comprehensive testing of workers on 8 July, it told the Free Press in a statement.

"Everyone who tested positive for Covid-19 were asymptomatic and passed a temperature test prior to testing positive," Suffolk said.

It added: "All individuals who tested positive were sent home and asked to self-isolate per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines."

Gallatin City-County public health officer Matt Kelley told the Free Press: "This has been a big concern for us because of the number of positives."

He added: "They ramped up testing to test everyone on the site on an ongoing basis, and I have asked them to continue that moving forward. They’ve done more than 800 tests since July 8."

According to Kelley, after an initial test-positivity rate of more than 20%, the rate has fallen to around 5-6%, which he said was in line with the countywide rate.

"That’s encouraging, but I want them to continue testing and I’d like to see even fewer cases in the future," he said.

Yesterday the county reported 16 new cases, bringing the cumulative total to 841.

Image: Render of the Montage Big Sky development in Gallatin County, Montana (

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