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Mineral County records first two COVID-19 cases

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Clark Fork Valley Press/Mineral Independent | August 11, 2020 1:06 PM

Mineral County became the latest in Montana to record a COVID-19 case when health officials received two lab-confirmed positive results Monday afternoon.

According to a news release from the County Health Department, it is currently conducting case and close contact investigations. Close contacts will be notified by the Mineral County Health Department.

According to information from the state, the cases involve a man and a woman, both aged 70-79.

They bring the total to 5,104 cases in Montana, including 97 Monday. A total of 194,412 tests have been conducted.

Counties in Northwest Montana have several active cases, but they pale in comparison to Yellowstone’s 590 and Big Horn’s 290.

In this region, Missoula is first with 92 active cases and Flathead has 65. Lake County has 25 active cases.

Yellowstone leads Montana with a total of 1,316 cases, including 21 new. Big Horn has had a total of 444 and 10 new cases.

Gallatin County is third with 948, including 30 active.

Flathead is fourth with 352 total cases, including 65 active cases and five new. Missoula County is fifth with 328 cases, including 92 active. Lake County has 183 cases with 25 active and three new.

Ravalli County has had 83 total cases with 12 active. Lincoln County has 77 total cases, 12 active. Glacier County has 77 cases and 14 active.

Mineral County’s neighbor to the north, Sanders County has had nine cases, but none are active.

Mineral County health officials have shared the following information about coronavirus and how to handle it.

- For those who develop symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and/or congestion) it is recommended to contact a primary care provider.

- Seek emergency medical attention if you are experiencing trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or

stay awake, and/or bluish lips or face. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility.

- Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who may have COVID-19.

Below are steps to take to protect yourself and prevent spread:

- Know how it spreads- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

It’s especially important to wash:

- Before eating or preparing food

- Before touching your face

- After using the restroom

- After leaving a public place

- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

- After handling your mask

- After changing a diaper

- After caring for someone sick

- After touching animals or pets

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your own home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members. Outside of your home, put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.

Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others - you could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has

trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Do not use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes - Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit. Throw used tissues in the trash.

Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant.

Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Monitor Your Health Daily - Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen. Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

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