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Valley County officials explain "quarantine" wristbands

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 16:35:27-04

GREAT FALLS — Officials in Valley County have clarified the intent of the pink wristbands that some people have been seen wearing in and around Glasgow lately.

The Valley County Health Department implemented a plan to help essential workers identify whether they had been there for over 14 days. They used old Fair Pink wrist bands to show the public who had followed the self quartine rule and were out in public places. This was not a health order in the county, more of an accommodation to meet the public concern.

"I think there was some miscommunication with the pink wristbands. What the pink wristband was here over a little two weeks ago we had contractors in town - TC Energy and Barnard Construction and Sletten - working, they had between 100-150 people in the area. What it was, there were people that have been here for about a month already, some employees," says Todd Young, Valley County Health Department public Information officer.

"Health Officer Dr. Ann Millard met with them over the weekend because there was a lot of public concern with people in town from out of the county, obviously out of state, doing essential work and she met with them on a Sunday and talked with the contractors, and they were trying to come up with ideas on how to identify the people who had been here for at least 14 days," said Young.

But they already had people who had been here for quite some time.

"There were 60 people that had already been here for the 14 days prior to the rest of the people showing up, and they collaborated with, but it was nothing the county implemented, it was just an idea that health officer and Dr. Millard and the contractors came up with, saying, 'Hey, these people have been here for over two weeks.' What can we do so they can do what they need to do so they can do their business as usual, like going grocery shopping go to the gas station stuff like that. At the time, they had a surplus from the previous year's fair. These pink bracelets are what it was, and the contractor said, 'Well, can we have the people that have been here for 14 days wear these so when they do go out in public or out in a grocery store they can say, 'Hey, we have been here for the 14 days quarantine," explained Young.

They said these pink wristbands are not government-issued, but rather are a good-faith effort by these contractors to try to put the community at ease.

Valley County Commissioners posted on Facebook on Wednesday:

The Valley County Commissioners would like to apologize, and issue clarification, regarding the current health orders and obligations that apply to visitors from outside Valley County.
In response to significant public concern regarding out of county contractors who are present in our communities for essential work purposes, one of the companies partnered with the County Health Officer to wear pink wrist bands following their 14- day quarantine. This was implemented to help alleviate community concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19. These bands are not government issued and are not a part of any of the current health orders in place. Rather, they are a good faith effort by these contractors to try to put the community at ease.
In a break-down of our internal processes, a flier went out to local business owners seemingly indicating such wrist bands are required for out of county individuals, and that local business owners were obligated to report violations of the health orders. That is not the intent of Valley County, and that flier has been rescinded.
We apologize, again, for any confusion this has caused. We are addressing our internal processes and want to thank all community members for continuing to work with us during this unprecedented time.

Paul Tweten
John Fahlgren
Mary Armstrong