Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 Continue To Rise in VC
July 29, 2020
Over the past week, two more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the county. On July 23, the Valley County Health Department and Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital confirmed the seventh positive case, a male in his 60s, who is not hospitalized and is isolating at home. This individual was a named contact to a previous positive case and did not show signs of symptoms. The eighth positive case was released on July 25, a female in her 70s who is also not hospitalized and is isolating at home. This individual is symptomatic and it’s unknown how the individual contracted the virus. In both cases, contract tracing has begun.
In order to assist the Valley County Health Department in the contract tracing process, they are asking the public to have their voicemail set up and cleared so messages can be left. Through the contract tracing efforts, the Health Department will ask close contacts to the confirmed individual to be tested, therefore they ask everyone to limit contact with others and avoid large group gatherings. They also stress to continue practicing COVID-19 precautions, including staying home while sick, monitoring for symptoms, washing hands and covering coughs.
“Contact tracing is an important part of managing the spread of COVID-19,” Attorney General Tim Fox stated in a release. “Unfortunately there are scammers trying to profit from the confusion and fear surrounding the coronavirus. Don’t give out any financial information, and never pay someone who claims to be a contact tracer. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for payment.”
In order to avoid contact tracing scams, don’t pay a contact tracer, don’t give your social security number or any other financial information, don’t share your immigration status and be cautious about clicking on links or downloading information. Contact tracers generally conduct this work through calls and text messages, not email.
As of July 26, at 10 a.m., Valley County has three active cases, five recovered cases with no hospitalizations or deaths. The three active cases is just one case away from being directed to wear a mask in certain indoor situations such as when frequenting businesses, government offices and other indoor spaces occupied by the public. Though Valley County hasn’t reached the mandated four active cases, certain businesses have already implemented the necessity to wear a mask when frequenting their establishment, including Holiday Station Store and Albertsons.
As a way to expand surveillance testing, on July 22, Governor Bullock announced Montana will be expanding surveillance testing for critical front-line health care personnel, essential workers and other groups due to a partnership with Montana State University. MSU’s researchers will begin the surveillance testing this week, with a capability of testing 500 people per day, according to a release issued by the Governor’s office. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Service (DPHHS) will determine what Montana populations will need to be tested for surveillance and then will ship the samples to a designated laboratory at MSU.
“Surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals is a powerful tool in helping slow the spread of the virus in our Montana communities. Montana State University has been an enthusiastic partner in helping find a Montana solution to our testing capacity and I am incredibly grateful for their partnership as we work together to protect the health of Montanans,” stated Governor Bullock.
The Governor also announced that the state had finalized a contract with a reference lab, MAKO Medical in North Carolina, to begin processing an anticipated 1,000 tests each day from Montana. The state will take a measured approach to ensure a reasonable turn-around time in receiving back test results.
The Health Department and FMDH continue to advise to monitor yourself and family members for the development of COVID-19 including a new/sudden dry cough, shortness of breath, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, and a fever of 100.5 or greater.
If you are asymptomatic (do not have symptoms of the virus) and have known exposure to a positive case, contact the Valley County Health Department, 228-6261. If you are symptomatic (showing signs of the virus), call the FMDH Respiratory Clinic at 228-3509.