COVID-19 NEWS

Local statistics as of

March 26/27:

Persons tested in County (3/26)    95

Persons with negative results        (3/26)    40

Persons with positive results (3/27)    3

Test results still pending (3/27)    37

 

Montana statistics as of

March 28

Persons tested in Montana 4,069

Persons with positive results 161

Hospitalizations 8

 

U.S. cases 142,502

Worldwide cases 722,435

 

COVID-19 symptoms:

According to the Center for Disease Control, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

 

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

 

Anyone with symptoms that are not severe and who feels they need medical evaluation is asked to call ahead to the medical facility in an effort to protect others from possible exposure.

If you develop severe symptoms including the following emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Coronavirus updates and impacts

By Tracy McNew

 

The first novel coronavirus case in Montana was confirmed on March 13. Nine days later, on March 22, there were 34 cases and seven days after that, on March 29, there are now 161 confirmed cases including four from Lincoln County.

Our County Health Department reported on Sunday, that four individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 in Lincoln County. One death from Lincoln County was also reported; it was the first death in the state attributed to the novel coronavirus: a 77 year old man from Troy, Jim Tomlin. Tomlin, according to his son, Scott, had recently been travelling domestically. Scott Tomlin, posted about the family’s unfortunate experience on Facebook and he also agreed to be interviewed by NBC Montana last week in an effort to educate others and emphasize the need for social distancing and other precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For each case in Lincoln County, the health department is investigating possible contacts and  reaching out to anyone considered a direct contact. In a press release issued on Sunday they said, “Please remember, if you have not received a call from the Health Department regarding contact with a case, you are not considered a direct contact.”

Montana Governor, Steve Bullock also released a statement on Sunday. His was in acknowledgement of a second Montanan who has died from COVID-19. That notification, he said, was provided by Madison County Public Health Department.

Both the county and state have set up information lines. Anyone interested in learning more from Lincoln County Public Health or who thinks they should be tested can  call the Lincoln County COVID-19 information line at (406) 293-6295. The information line’s hours are from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.  The state phone line is 1-888-333-0461 and Coronavirus questions for the state of Montana  can also be emailed to covid19@ mt.gov.

Locally, our City-County Board of Health for Lincoln County is scheduled to meet remotely at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 30.  They will give a COVID-19 update and address other agenda items including a health officer update and a national public health emergency request letter. The meeting will be held using Zoom, an online platform, so that social distancing can be maintained while business is still being conducted.

On a state level, Governor Bullock declared a state of emergency due to coronavirus and directed Montanans to shelter in place through April 10. Students are doing schoolwork from home and many parents are working from home or laid off. Bullock also announced emergency rules for unemployment benefits making it faster, offering help to employers, and expanding access to benefits.

President Trump declared a national emergency due to coronavirus on March 13. Last week, he signed a $2 Trillion  Coronavirus Stimulus bill: the Coronavirus Aid,  Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill aims to provide economic relief countrywide as jobless claims soar and the economy sinks into recession. Unemployment will be supplemented, direct cash payments are planned for many Americans, and relief will be provided for industries suffering severe consequences from social distancing and stay at home orders. The CARES Act is the largest economic relief package in US. History.

Amid all of the chaos, people are still finding ways to stay positive and spread good will. Locally, keep an eye out for teddy bears or hearts placed in windows of homes and businesses, Christmas lights, and even painted rocks. These are just a few of the ways that quarantined families out for walks or car rides can enjoy the support of others at a safe social distance. Local quilting and sewing groups are making masks and gowns to donate for the protection of healthcare workers, and others at risk.

If you have a positive story to share, email news@montanian.com.

CARD Clinic staff members prepare to work at the community’s central testing site on Friday, March 27. The site is managed by Lincoln County Public Health and currently  located in CARD’s parking lot since the clinic had to close with the Coronavirus pandemic in order to protect their patients with chronic respiratory disease. Photo courtesy of CARD.  

Local business donates in time of need

On Friday March 27 Alternative ReLeaf a Libby business, donated hand sanitizer to the Lincoln County Sheriffs office (LCSO). LCSO wrote, “Thank you Alternative ReLeaf for the hand sanitizer. These are going in patrol vehicles in Lincoln County right now!”  Photo courtesy of LCSO.