Valley County Health Officer Issues Quarantine Order for All Entering Valley County
March 25, 2020
*Editor's Note: This is a developing story and we encourage you to check back regularly for further details as they are made available.*
The Valley County Health Officer Dr. Anne Millard has issued an order that all persons entering Valley County will be required to quarantine for 14 days. The order will generally apply to anyone coming into the county but has presently unclear exclusions, per a county teleconference the morning of March 27. Those on quarantine are supposed to stay home and isolate from others.
Exclusions to the order will apply but they were not immediately clear. The health officer is expected to put out the order in the coming hours. The order and attached guidance should clarify who is excluded from mandatory quarantine based on occupation, mandatory or necessary travel and so on.
Enforcement of the order is also unclear, but a question posed to the Health Officer by the Courier asking if the 14 day quarantine was a health order enforceable by legal action or a strong recommendation, Dr. Millard responded only with, “Not a recommendation.”
A copy of the signed order from the health officer was not immediately available but it was expected to be released in the coming hours providing details and informing the public on what time it will go into effect.
The county's newest order comes on the heels of the Governor's “Stay-at-Home” order that is to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 28. That order shuts down all non-essential businesses, limits travel to essential activities like going to the grocery store or to purchase food, and activity for health reasons. The Governor said in a press conference that the order would not limit outdoor recreation as long as people are adhering to Center for Disease Control guidelines to not be in groups larger than 10 and not to be less than six feet apart from one another.
The Governor’s order will not apply to essential services, which based on a list by the Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency applies to a broad swath of Valley County employees. To determine whether your profession or business is essential visit: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce.
As of the morning March 27, the State of Montana had reported 108 cases of COVID 19 up from the low 70s the morning prior. The state also saw its first Corona Virus related death according to state reports. Currently, seven individuals remain hospitalized as a result of the COVID-19 disease spreading in the state.
Valley County has no reported cases and as of Wednesday, March 25. A Facebook Live Town-Hall will be held on March 28 on the Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital Facebook page at 10 a.m. More information on this order will be made available when we have it.