COVID-19

Montana state and local public health officials are monitoring the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation very closely. Please check for updates frequently as the situation evolves.

Visit the MT State Library MAPS site to see updated cases (both active & total) for Cascade County & the entire State of Montana. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms, or are worried that you might have COVID-19, please reach out to one of our community medical partners. Please do not show up to a facility before calling.

Alluvion – 406-454-6973

Benefis – 406-455-2500

Great Falls Clinic – 406-454-7275

CCHD – 406-454-6950

Sick, and not sure what to do? Follow these steps from the CDC : WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK.

Masks/Face Coverings for Ages 5+
in Public Indoor Spaces - NOW REQUIRED by the Governor's July 15 Directive

Good evening, Cascade County. We have 18 new cases today (9/16), associated with community transmission, contact tracing, and clusters. Here are the details:

  • (2) females 19 and under
  • (4) males 19 and under
  • (1) female in her 20s
  • (1) male in his 20s
  • (4) males in their 30s
  • (1) female in her 40s
  • (1) male in his 40s
  • (2) females in their 50s
  • (1) male in his 50s
  • (1) male in his 60s

As always, these individuals have been isolated and contact tracing is underway.

Some of these cases are associated with GFPS. To date, 16 cases associated with GFPS are active (this number does not include today’s cases):

  • (6) females age 10-19
  • (6) males age 10-19
  • (1) male age 0-9
  • (3) adults

Cascade City-County Health Department and Great Falls Public Schools are working to align with Montana DPHHS on the school information that can be shared going forward.

For the sake of transparency, the State has made the decision to begin reporting information about cases in schools on a weekly basis. Protections are built in to ensure privacy for smaller schools. Cascade City-County Health Department will share Cascade County-relevant information released by the State.

The information provided by State health officials does not publicly display health data about individual children or staff. It simply provides parents, teachers, and the interested public with general data about whether there are positive cases associated with particular schools.

For schools with over 50 students, both the number of positive students and the number of positive staff will be shared, along with the name of the school and the county where it is located. For schools with between 11 and 50 students (such as rural county schools), the number of students and staff tested positive will be shared, but data released will not distinguish between students and staff. For schools with 10 or fewer students, there will be no reporting in order to ensure the protection of individual privacy.

For daily updates, CCHD will be sharing the number of new, positive cases in Cascade County, along with a brief summary of new cases associated with Great Falls Public Schools. This will be in the form of a list, with sex and age range listed for students, as well as total number of positive adults.

The State updated their COVID-19 FAQs again 9/17/20. You can see those here: https://covid19.mt.gov/Frequently-Asked-Questions

You can find mask-specific FAQs here: https://covid19.mt.gov/Masks-and-Face-Coverings
 
To see updated numbers of active & total cases for Cascade County and the entire state, please visit: https://montana.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=7c34f3412536439491adcc2103421d4b
 

Here at CCHD, we are closely monitoring the health of our community, and we realize that the recent spike in case numbers may cause our community some anxiety. We urge you to take control of your own physical health and mental well-being by doing what you can to protect yourself and those you love. Here are things you can do:

  • Wear a mask or face covering in public indoor spaces and at outdoor gatherings where social distancing is difficult, as mandated by the Governor’s Directive
  • Frequently, thoroughly wash your hands and avoid touching your face
  • Use good judgment and analyze the risk of your activities before going out (whether that’s grocery shopping at peak times, going on vacation, or going to a friend’s or family’s gathering)
  • Get some physical activity and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, but watch out for trailheads or parks that are already crowded
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Avoid close contact with people outside of your household (close contact is being within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or more)
  • Stay in contact with your friends and family, even if you aren’t seeing them in person as much as you’d like

On Wednesday 7/15/20, Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive requiring face coverings in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties—like Cascade County—that are currently experiencing four or more active cases of COVID-19. Studies show that this will slow the spread of the virus.

The Governor writes, “…This is about being a Montanan and being supportive of those around us. Montanans need to not only feel safe, but be safe to continue supporting small businesses like restaurants, breweries, clothing stores, bookshops, and more. And Montanans need to be healthy to work. Mom and Pop shops in Montana often have two employees: Mom and Pop themselves. If they get COVID-19, they can’t keep their business running.”

Please take time to read the new directive, which can be found here in the section titled “Executive Directives”: https://covid19.mt.gov/joint-information-center

CCHD Phase 2 Event Guidance & Reopening After COVID Information (6/3/2020)

Bar Seating Guidance During Phase 2 (6/3/2020)

Appendix A: CCHD Environmental Health – Guidance Packet for Reopening Retail/Other Businesses (05/11/20)

Appendix B: DPHHS Food & Consumer Safety Division – Guidance Packet for Reopening Food Establishments & Bars  (05/11/20)

CCHD Health Officer: Updated Order of Health Officer Placing Restrictions on Large Events

Montana Phased Plan: “Reopening the Big Sky”

Please visit our “In The News” page for all Governor’s Directives and Orders of the Health Officer from the Cascade City-County Health Officer, Trisha Gardner.

You can find the Governor’s plan for “Reopening the Big Sky” along with other key documents here : Joint Information Center.

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

 

Governor Bullock has instituted a Coronavirus Task Force, and you can find their website here: https://covid19.mt.gov/

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.

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

For information about the impact of COVID-19 on the City of Great Falls, visit their page: https://greatfallsmt.net/citymanager/covid-19-updates

Resources by audience :

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.

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 adultsPeople 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

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.

Are you a business owner? See CDC’s guidance for businesses here.

Your business may be affected by Governor Bullock’s Directive on March 20, 2020, which is effective through 11:59am on  April 10th.

Read the original directive or see additional guidance for your business from the Montana Alcoholic Beverage Control Division here: http://www.cchdmt.org/in-the-news/. You can also find a Frequently Asked Questions document on the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force Page

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 Infrastructure Workforce” guidelines whether your business should be closed, please call the State hotline : 1-800-755-6672

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.

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.

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.

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.

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