HAMILTON — The COVID-19 surge is continuing in the Bitterroot.
Ravalli County Public Health Director Tiffany Webber says that reported case counts have jumped significantly over the weekend and that as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, there were 347 active COVID-19 cases in Ravalli County with several dozen additional cases awaiting review.
She added Public Health has also received “had several phone messages from the holiday weekend wanting to report positive home tests.” Residents who wish to report positive results are being asked to fill out the tracing form found on the Public Health website. The form, along with any questions, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Webber also says that due to the number of cases being reported daily and the new shortened isolation recommendation, staff is not able to contact trace every reported positive in a timely manner.
“Public Health has reached capacity and has begun prioritizing contact tracing on children in school or attending daycare and individuals living or working in healthcare or congregate settings (long term care or group homes),” Webber said.
Most residents, with a reported positive case, that do not receive a phone call, can expect a letter with isolation recommendations. A letter is posted on the Ravalli County Public Health website — titled “Isolation Recommendations” — provides additional information.
The Montana state COVID-19 tracking website showed Ravalli County added 80 new cases on Wednesday. To date, there have been a total of 5,950 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the county including 5,559 recoveries and 129 deaths.
A total of 50,235 county residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 representing 50% of the eligible population.
Public Health continues to recommend the following as a best practice:
- Vaccination: Vaccine has been shown safe and effective at reducing severe outcomes.
- Masking when appropriate: 5 days following isolation, 10 days following an exposure, or in poorly ventilated public areas that don’t allow for physical distancing.
- Maintain physical distancing whenever possible
- Frequent handwashing and sanitizing
- Testing when appropriate: with signs and symptoms or as a tool for attending gatherings or visiting loved ones.
- Staying home when sick.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes.