So while Powell County, adjacent to Deer Lodge County, hasn’t seen a swell in COVID-19 deaths, the festering case count across the state does give the effect that the worst may be yet to come.
Asked if the pandemic has taken a toll on her personally, Gregory said, “I’m going to say no, but it’s always in the back of your mind, and it is stressful, and you’re just hoping your community doesn’t explode with that kind of death.”
Gregory, for the time being, is taking on the coroner work alone, although she’ll soon have a deputy to work alongside. First, that person needs to go through the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. She’ll be happy when that process is completed.
“It’s something you cannot do by yourself,” Gregory said. “Personally, and mentally, I think that would be a mistake. None of us know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks. It could turn very dark.
“But we have a job to do,” she added. “I always say we, because of Lee, but it’s something where we have to put our best foot forward. People rely on making sure that a coroner does their job properly so that there’s no hidden agenda if somebody dies.”
Jewell had been on the job longer than Gavin Roselles’ 19 years as Powell County Sheriff, he said Friday. Nodding to the fact that when Roselles and Jewell worked together typically meant bad news, Roselles said he was glad to have Jewell in that office.