BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Tech announced Monday it was suspending activities for its men's and women's basketball teams after players tested positive for COVID-19, as the virus that causes the respiratory disease continues to spread among students of all ages in the state.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Montana colleges and universities more than doubled, to at least 2,375 cases, during a one-month period ending Nov. 20, according a report from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services released Friday.
Confirmed cases among K-12 schools followed a similar upward trajectory during the month-long period, increasing from 1,033 students in late October to 2,263 students confirmed with COVID-19 by late November, the report said. Positive tests among teachers and other staff also more than doubled, to 909 cases.
Montana State University in Bozeman has the highest count of any school in the state, with 1,289 cases, according to the report.
The basketball team suspensions at Montana Tech will last for at least two weeks, said Associate Athletic Director Nick Bowsher. Games will be postponed for the women’s team through Dec. 12 and for the men’s team through Dec. 13. The school has seen 157 reported cases of the virus.
More than 62,000 people across Montana have been confirmed with COVID-19 since March, including 1,246 new cases reported over the weekend. The true number is likely far higher because not everyone is tested and some people can be infected without showing symptoms.
The state has reported 681 deaths due to the virus.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for some — especially older adults and people with health problems — it can cause more severe illness and death.