Ravalli County Health beefing up contact tracing efforts

Ravalli County COVID
Posted at 4:20 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 18:42:24-05

HAMILTON — Ravalli County Health Department officials are expanding their COVID-19 contact tracing to catch up on a backlog of cases during the recent surge.

Meanwhile, they're once more asking people to follow precautions for the safety of the community.

By now you know the message -- Wash your hands, wear a mask and social distance. But as Ravalli County's coronavirus cases spiked the past month, the appeal for community action is being renewed.

“Each one of us has to take that personal responsibility to assume that you could possibly have it, and you could be spreading it and nobody wants to be that person. Odds are, you know, most of us will get us and do just that," said Ravalli County Public Health Nurse Director Tiffany Webber.

"We might get it and do fine. I don't know who those people are that aren't going to do fine, and you don't want to be the person who gave it to somebody who does poorly. Your mom or grandparent or a child, God forbid," she added.

Some questions have continued over the way Ravalli County accounts for coronavirus cases. Webber explained that the daily positive case rate and the active cases don't add up because they are two different sets of numbers.

The daily cases are from tests processed by the state but those numbers aren't automatically added to the total active cases as they must be vetted first -- and in some cases, even re-tested. Even the active case numbers are fluid because those are subject to review and closure.

“I think we have like 44,000 residents, possibly was the last count I saw. It's not a lot, right? But it's when we think about how each one of those persons deserves to have contact with the health department to answer their questions. It’s a lot for us," Webber told MTN News.

The Ravalli County Board of Health also says you should stay home even if you have a sore throat or the sniffles, checking the county's website for help.

“That's whether you know you had a close contact, or if you suspect you had a close contact -- it's the same. You want to make sure that you’re every day doing that self-assessment monitor for symptoms," Webber said.

The County is giving residents pretty high marks saying they flattened the curve last spring and now need to just keep protecting one another as we go through this fall and winter. And that probably means missing a few gatherings.

“I don't go to every single event. Choose what's important to you," Webber said. "I feel like we all have a civic duty to each other. We are not so big that we've forgotten what it means to be a community.”