GREAT FALLS — The Hill County Health Department closed all bars, breweries, distilleries, casinos, and restaurants in the county Tuesday afternoon in response to the growing threat of the novel coronavirus, according to The Havre Herald.
The order is effective immediately and will last until March 24. Exceptions include drive-thru, delivery, and pick-up services, the health department’s order says.
Gyms, athletic clubs, fitness studios, and yoga studios are ordered to limit attendance to 10 people, including staff.
On Monday, Hill County declared a state of emergency, which allows for the possibility of state and federal funds.
More coverage from Hill County at The Havre Herald:
(MARCH 16) Governor Steve Bullock on Monday evening said that there are two new positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Montana, bringing the total number of cases in the state to eight.
- The new Missoula County patient is a man in his 20s
- The new Yellowstone County patient is a woman in her 20s
The tests, conducted by the DPHHS Public Health Laboratory in Helena, were confirmed Monday evening. State and local public health laboratories are no longer required to send “presumptive positive” samples to CDC for confirmation. From now on, respiratory samples positive for SARS-CoV2 in a state and public-health laboratory will be considered “positive” with no need for further testing.
DPHHS and the county health departments are immediately following up to learn more details about the two individual’s exposure risk, travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients. No other information about the patients has been released. All patients will be isolated or quarantined pursuant to public health guidelines. Those who came into close contact with the individuals will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Montana to eight. The six previously-announced cases in Montana are:
- Gallatin County: man in his 40s; recovering at home; acquired through international travel
- Yellowstone County: woman in her 50s; recovering at home; acquired through international travel
- Butte-Silver Bow County: man in his 50s; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
- Broadwater County: man in his 50s who sought care in Lewis and Clark County; recovering at home; acquired domestically in affected areas out of state
- Missoula County: a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 30s
As of Monday, March 16, DPHHS has tested a total of 311 people for COVID-19; eight of those results have been positive, and 303 have been negative The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 850 more people, and anticipates receiving more tests from the CDC as needed. Click here to visit the DPHHS website. DPPHS says that COVID-19 testing is available 7 days a week; for information about testing, call 1-800-821-7284.
- Several Montana counties close bars and limit restaurant service
- Bullock directs two-week closure of public K-12 schools in Montana
- Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in Missoula County; total in Montana is now six
- How the coronavirus closure will affect Great Falls Public Schools
- Officials in Cascade County address coronavirus concerns
- CDC: Cancel or postpone all events with more than 50 people for next 8 weeks
- St. Patrick's Day parade and other events canceled due to coronavirus
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, you can take the following steps to protect yourself and your family.
- To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, you can take the following steps to protect yourself and your family.
- Stay home if you’re sick,
- Cover your cough and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands frequently
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), as of March 14, there are 3,487 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the nation. There have been 68 deaths. Click here for the latest information about COVID-19 at the CDC website.
NOTE: In addition to the eight confirmed cases actually IN Montana, there is a seventh Montanan confirmed to have COVID-19. That person, from Lake County, is a part time Montana resident with no documented exposures or close contacts in Montana, and was not tested in Montana. She was tested and diagnosed in Maryland, where she currently is residing.