KALISPELL — The Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) is asking the community to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as the county continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases, related hospitalizations, and deaths.
Recent case investigations have found that COVID-19 exposures are linked to social gatherings in indoor spaces, such as birthday parties and group dinners, as well as large events like weddings and trade shows, according to FCCHD.
The Flathead County Board of Health voted on Oct. 15 against enacting further measures to prevent community spread of COVID-19 in Flathead County.
“It is vital that individuals follow the recommended steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said FCCHD Interim Health Officer Tamalee St James Robinson.
FCCHD recommends that people adhere to the following recommendations:
- Flathead County residents should limit their number of close, non-household contacts to no more than six persons per week, as well as limiting the duration of close, non-household contacts to less than fifteen minutes whenever possible.
- Where possible, Flathead County residents are encouraged to utilize contact-free services of businesses, including but not limited to drive-through and take-out food services, contactless delivery, and the like.
- When Flathead County residents have to leave their homes, residents are encouraged to minimize the number of trips, locations, and time to the greatest extent possible.
- Flathead County residents should be very vigilant in adhering to physical distancing requirements and recommendations, hand hygiene and surface sanitation procedures, and staying away from others when sick.
- Flathead County residents should be vigilant in adhering to masking requirements and recommendations while in public spaces and while within close contact of non-household members.
FCCHD adds in a news release that as the holiday approach people should be mindful of the events they choose to attend.
“The increasing number of positive cases and the evidence of widespread community transmission have brought Flathead County to a point where tough decisions need to be made,” Robinson stated.
“The growing rate of COVID-19 in our community is not sustainable for our healthcare system, our public health staff, and our schools,” she added.
"We have to decide what is more important- social gatherings or keeping our schools and businesses open. It is up to all of us to slow the spread,” Robinson concluded.
Flathead County received 137 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and to date there have been 23 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths of Flathead County residents.
Additional information about COVID-19 in Flathead County can be found here.