KALISPELL — Following Monday's announcement of the county's first COVID-19 related death, Flathead health officials have advice for residents to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Flathead County Health Officer Hillary Hanson says people need to be taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, further noting that some people may show no symptoms of the virus at all.
"Recognizing that while for many people the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild there are people that's not true," said Hanson.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends people should wear a mask in public. But Hanson explained that people should be using cloth masks, not health grade N95 masks that are needed for health care workers.
Hanson notes that people using masks need to make sure to use them correctly. "Making sure you're not touching the masks, moving the mask around, taking it off and then rubbing your face." "That you're washing your hands right after it."
She noted masks should be washed after each use and that people can easily wash a cloth mask in the washer and dryer
While Hanson says Flathead Valley residents have been good at obeying directives, there is confusion over essential travel and businesses.
"People still utilizing the essential businesses as a place to hang out," she said. "So, whether it's meeting in parking lots, or meeting friends to go grocery shopping or doing those pieces. So, we really want to make it clear to people that if you're out in the community you should be performing an essential business."
She added that if you have to do essential errands like grocery shopping limit the number of people who go and do not bring the entire family out. "If it only takes one person to do the chore, only send one person."
Anyone with concerns about violations of Gov. Steve Bullock's stay at home directive can report them here.