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Ravalli County health officer urges patience, caring for one another during pandemic

Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 21, 2020

HAMILTON — If you're tired of being cooped up, washing your hands and social distancing, you're not alone.

But Ravalli County's health officer says even as there are signs things may be changing now's not the time to let down our guard.

Spending time in the Bitterroot Valley, you might get the first impression the health crisis hasn't changed much. Some businesses remain open, people are shopping for groceries and traffic is lighter, but not abnormally so. Still, looking deeper, there's plenty of evidence things aren't normal.

Yet that could be making all the difference. Ravalli County is still reporting just five cases, with three recoveries and two people remain in isolation. But the county says vigilance is still needed to keep from creating a local spike in COVID-19.

Ravalli County Incident Commander Dr. Carol Calderwood tells MTN all the precautions are still critical, including wearing those face masks when you're out in public, a point that's been hard to sell in the Bitterroot.

"It's just different for out society. We're not used to it," Calderwood said. "And every step I think took a little bit of time. But this one seems to be more of a hurdle because personally when I go in the grocery store I don't seem many people wearing the face cover. And it's super important and it isn't the time to let up."

And she says while we like to be self-sufficient, it's important to ask for help if needed, and extend help if you can.

"If you have someone that's staying home near you and you're not at high risk, go get them, do their errands," Calderwood said. "And people that are opting to stay home, ask for that help and allow someone to get your groceries. Or use a curbside app."

Above all, Dr. Calderwood says this is the week to be patient, so you don't become one.

"It's a time to not let up. But everybody's tired," Calderwood said. "And it's been hard economically obviously, and boring. And physically hard for everyone. The weather's not been great most of the time. So it's been super hard and I think this is a time where everybody's kind of bored of it and done with it. But, the more we can stick to it right now, the more we can get through it, I think even quicker."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article noted that two people were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 in Ravalli County. That information was incorrect. Two people remain in oisolation in Ravalli County. We apologize for this error.