Coronavirus (COVID-19) Facts

Updated 4/7/2020.

Information added since last update will be displayed in purple.

Visit Governor Bullock’s Coronavirus Task Force Page for his directives, FAQ, and links to relevant websites.

Worried that you or someone you love might have COVID-19? Concerned residents should call one of these numbers. Please do not show up to a facility before calling.

  • Alluvion — 406-454-6973 (M-F 7am-6pm, Sat & Sun 8am-3pm)
  • Benefis — 406-455-2500 (7 days a week, 7am-7pm)
  • Great Falls Clinic — 406-454-7275
  • CCHD — 406-454-6950

Sick, and not sure what to do? Follow these steps: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

SPACE

Cascade County-specific information:

In Cascade County, we (still) have 11 total cases as of 6pm, 4/7/2020. No new cases today.

To learn more, please see our Facebook feed or our latest press release here: http://www.cchdmt.org/news/

COVID-19 & Businesses in Cascade County

Visit our “In the News” page for the full texts of the Governor’s directives and Orders of Health Officer from Health Officer Trisha Gardner.

Earlier this afternoon, Governor Bullock extended his existing directives (including the stay-home order, the closure of schools, and travel restrictions). These will now remain in effect through April 24th, 2020.

To see announcements for all of Governor Bullock’s directives, click here: http://governor.mt.gov/pressroom

***On March 30, 2020, Governor Bullock issued a new Travel Directive, which requires people coming in from out-of-state to self-quarantine for 14 days.***

  • Any person coming to Montana from another state or country for a non-work-related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. If a person will be present in Montana for fewer than 14 days, that person must self-quarantine for the duration of the visit.
  • Any person who has already arrived in Montana from another state or country for a non-work-related purpose before the date of this Directive must immediately self-quarantine for the remainder of a 14-day period beginning on the date of their arrival in Montana, or until their departure from Montana—whichever is sooner. 
  • The Montana Department of Commerce will advise persons listing hotels, rental properties, or other short-term rentals in Montana—including but not limited to listings on such services as Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and related services—to include notice of the mandatory quarantine for travelers from another state or country.
  • These quarantine restrictions do not apply in the following circumstances:
    • to persons traveling through Montana en route to another destination; or
    • to public health, public safety, or healthcare workers
  • These quarantine restrictions shall apply to Montana residents and non-residents alike.
  • In addition to these restrictions, persons required to self-quarantine under this Directive shall also comply with the requirements of all other Executive Orders and Directives issued by the Health Officer. This Directive shall not be construed as limiting the effect of any previously issued Directive or Executive Order.

On March 26, 2020, at 4:30pm Governor Bullock announced that he was issuing a shelter-in-place directive that will go into effect at 12:01am on Saturday, March 28, 2020, and will remain in effect through April 10th.

Sheltering in place means that all persons may leave their homes or places of residence only for essential activities or to operate essential businesses and operations.

The governor is utilizing guidance from the Department of Homeland Security to determine what qualifies as essential business and operations. Please read this document to learn if your business services are essential or not: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

If you cannot determine from the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” guidelines whether your business should be closed, please call the State hotline: 1-800-755-6672

Learn more about sheltering in place at these links:

On March 26, 2020, at 4:15pm, Trisha Gardner, Cascade City-County Health Department Health Officer, issued a revision and extension of her previous March 20th order. This builds on the foundation set by Governor Bullock’s “Directive Implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 extending closures and updating social distancing requirements and guidance,” but adds restrictions to the following types of businesses:

  1. All body art, tattoo, and piercing establishments;
  2. All hair, nail, and cosmetic salons/studios;
  3. All hair, nail, and cosmetic schools/training facilities; and
  4. All spa and massage services, except those massage services contained within state-licensed physical therapy or chiropractic practices.

The revised Order is effective from 11:59pm on Thursday, March 26, 2020, through 11:59pm on Friday, April 10th.

Governor Steve Bullock announced recently that small businesses across Montana impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are now eligible to apply for emergency loans through the Small Business Administration. Visit U.S. Small Business Disaster Assistance to apply.

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For order violation complaints regarding businesses in Cascade County, or to seek guidance for your business, please email CCHD at health@cascadecountymt.gov or call 406-454-6950.

Read the March 20th 2020 “Order of Health Officer” and CCHD’s “Recommendations for Social Distancing and Sanitation at your Workplace,” which is effective through 8am March 27th, here:

Your business may also be affected by Governor Bullock’s Directive on March 20, 2020, which is effective through 11:59am on March 27th. Furthermore, on March 24, this directive was extended through April 10.

Read the directive or see additional guidance for your business from the Montana Alcoholic Beverage Control Division here: http://www.cchdmt.org/in-the-news/

If you have questions about how Governor Bullock’s directive may affect your business, please contact these agencies:

Questions about COVID-19 and your business? Check out our FAQ sheet.

CCHD Service Updates

CCHD Walk-In Services Suspended

Learn more here.

Family Health Services Message

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all WIC offices are closing to the public. If you currently have an appointment scheduled, WIC clinic staff will be contacting you to complete it over the phone. You will continue to receive and be able to use your benefits as long as your certification is active.

If you’re a WIC or Family Services client, visit the Family Services webpage: http://www.cchdmt.org/family-services/

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CDC Guidance

Are you a business owner? See CDC’s guidance for businesses here. And don’t forget to check out CCHD guidance above!

Are you wondering what to do about an event or large gathering? See CDC’s event/mass gathering guidance here.

Are you curious about what you should be doing at home to protect the health of your family? See what the CDC has to say here.

Are you a childcare provider, or do you work in a school? See what the CDC recommends for you here.

The CDC has guidance for many types of organizations and aspects of community life. Visit this page to learn more.

SPACE

The state of things in Montana:

The Montana State Library has put together an excellent summary of COVID-19 in Montana, the number of cases, recent policy changes to mitigate impact, and more. Check out their dashboard here (and note that there are several tabs): https://montana.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=7c34f3412536439491adcc2103421d4b

Please find updated information from Montana State DPHHS here: https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusmt

Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk (and your community’s risk) of infection with COVID-19:

Stay informed.

Frequently visit the “Novel Coronavirus” pages on both the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) websites, or check back on this page, which will be updated.

Remember that the Cascade City-County Health Department, Montana DPHHS, and the CDC are your most reliable sources of information at this time.

Special note for people at higher risk:

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

For people who are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19, the CDC has specific recommendations. Click here for their most current guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

When do I seek medical evaluation and advice?

If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. Do not go to the emergency room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.

If you have difficulty breathing, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19, but you should call 9-1-1.

If you’re over 60 and you have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, come up with a plan with your doctor to identify your health risks for coronavirus and how to manage symptoms. Contact your doctor right away if you do have symptoms.

Symptoms and testing

We’ve had a lot of questions from the community about testing capacity and procedures in Cascade County.

Montana continues to follow recent guidance from CDC regarding testing for COVID-19. Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing).

Learn more here.

Testing capabilities for COVID-19 are expanding rapidly, and we are hopeful that more testing will be available in Cascade County sooner rather than later.

Learn more on the CDC’s Symptoms & Testing page.

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19 at this time. Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.

How does Public Health track potential cases in Cascade County?

Public Health provides instruction to people who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing to take precautionary measures until test results are known. Precautionary measures include isolating themselves from others—typically by staying at home, monitoring themselves for symptoms, and by taking their temperature twice daily. We contact them each day to talk about their health status. This allows us to rapidly detect any potential signs of infection and get the person evaluated quickly if needed, minimizing the risk of spread.

We also ask anyone who is a close contact of someone who meets the criteria for testing to monitor their health and let us know immediately if they develop any illness. They can stop monitoring for symptoms when the person tests negative for coronavirus infection. Should the person test positive, the close contacts would stay separated from others and we would check in with them daily to watch for symptoms.

Remember that the CDC has recommended no travel to affected areas at this time.

Travel Health Notices inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in specific international destinations.

If you are planning a trip to affected areas (or anywhere where COVID-19 is spreading) in the next few months, keep an eye on the news and on CDC’s Travel Health Notices webpage.

Know that your risk for this virus depends on travel history & exposure—not on race, ethnicity, or culture.

Montanans currently remain at low risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 unless they have recently traveled to areas with community transmission of the virus, or have come in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Avoid showing prejudice to Montanans of Asian descent or assuming that someone of Asian descent is more likely to have COVID-19.

Take preventative measures.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, though research is underway. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For recommendations on cleaning and disinfection in facilities with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html

3 Comments on “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Facts

  1. Drinking from the commun ion cup is really a concern! Was at church today and it was bring passed from person to person.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    I can understand being worried about a shared communion cup! My recommendation would be to talk to your pastor, priest, or even bishop (not sure of your denomination) and let them know your concerns. You can definitely direct them to the Cascade City-County Health Department as well, should they have any questions about official public health recommendations. Have them call 406-454-6950 and ask for Anna Attaway.

    Thanks for reaching out and stay well,

    Anna
    Cascade City-County Health Department

  3. Health officials and journalists should stop reporting the number of positive cases in the United States as new cases. They should refer to them as ‘newly discovered cases,’ in order to remove the impression that the number of cases reported has any bearing on the actual number. The CDC confirmed two weeks ago that the virus was in community transmission in the United States—that it was infecting Americans who had neither traveled abroad nor were in contact with others who had. There are sick people in Montana whose doctors think they need testing and who still cannot be tested. I hope this gets better. I hope you have a plan. I hope you tell us what the plan is to make testing quick, free, and available everywhere.