FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Marissa Perry, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-4514
Erin Loranger, Press Secretary, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-9725
Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Alisha Johnson, Public Information Officer, Missoula City-County Health, (406) 550-0792
Governor Bullock Confirms Two Coronavirus Cases in Missoula County
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today confirmed two presumptively positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Missoula County, Montana.
- The Missoula County patient is a female in their 30s
- The Missoula County patient is a male in their 50s
The tests, conducted by the DPHHS Public Health Laboratory, were confirmed Saturday evening. As is current standard, test results are considered presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
DPHHS and the Missoula City-County Health Department are immediately following up to learn more details about the two individual’s exposure risk, travel history, and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patients.
Missoula City-County Health Department officials will be available to the press at 10 am on Sunday, March 15, in Room 210 of the health department.
All patients will be isolated or quarantined pursuant to public health guidelines. Those who came into close contact with the individuals will be monitored for 14 days for fever and respiratory symptoms per CDC guidance.
The number of tests performed are updated daily here: https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusmt
The state currently has the capacity to test approximately 850 individuals and anticipates receiving more tests from the CDC as needed.
On Thursday, Governor Bullock declared a state of emergency in Montana to direct a coordinated response to COVID-19 and mobilize all available state resources including emergency funds or personnel from the National Guard. It also allows the governor to take additional steps as warranted.
To bolster the state’s response to the coronavirus situation, Governor Bullock launched a Coronavirus Task Force on March 3 to coordinate efforts across state government. The Task Force, led by Adjutant General Matthew Quinn, is now providing ways state residents can ask questions related to the coronavirus situation in Montana.
A coronavirus (COVID-19) information phone line at 1-888-333-0461 has been launched and Montanans can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. State public health officials will be responding to inquiries from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Montanans can also visit covid19.mt.gov to receive regularly updated information on COVID-19.
According to CDC, the elderly and people who have severe chronic medical conditions seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious illness. Reported illnesses in the US have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The CDC and state public health officials recommend all Montanans take the following precautions:
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve, and then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth ‑ with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have COVID-19 symptoms. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
- Stay home except to get medical care: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
- It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. Stay current on your vaccination, including the flu vaccine.
- Watch for travel advisories. Consult the CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside the US.