Coronavirus Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Residents of Big Horn County:

1. If you have symptoms including a FEVER, COUGH, or SHORTNESS OF BREATH, call your primary care provider. Do NOT go to the doctor without calling first. If you do not have a primary care provider, just call one of the local clinics close to you:Indian Health Service (IHS) has set up a 24-hour hotline to answer COVID-19 calls: 638-3527 to speak to a nurse

Bighorn Valley Health Center: 665-4103, press 3 to speak to nursing staff

Hardin Clinic (SCL-St. Vincent’s): 665-2800, press 0 for receptionist to speak with a medical professional

Big Horn Hospital: 665-2310, talk to front desk

2. If you are SEVERELY ILL and you think you need hospitalization, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room. Call the hospital to tell them you are coming to the ER and that you have respiratory symptoms. This way they will be ready for you.

Recent Travelers:
If you recently traveled to a state or county experiencing Covid19 AND you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor or clinic immediately. Do NOT go to the clinic without calling first. Symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Other Questions:
If you have questions about the response to the coronavirus in our community, you can call:
Big Horn County Public Health (406) 665-8720
Big Horn County DES (406) 665-1731

For the most up-to-date information from the federal and state governments, visit the following websites:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichea…/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusmt

Press inquiries can be directed to the Public Information Officer (406) 679-0572

Download Emergency Proclamation

 
 

Orders and Proclamations


 
 

Press Releases

To curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Big Horn County Public Health Officer today announced measures to close dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses, and lodging including fishing/hunting lodges, resorts, AirBNB/Home Away/VRBO facilities in the County that pose enhanced health risks, effective at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020. This Directive expires at 12:01 a.m. on March 28, 2020, though the date will likely be extended. This Order supplements any Orders or Directives of the State of Montana or the United States Government regarding the COVID-19 virus.

While closed, lodging establishments may provide lodging to personnel essential to the people of Big Horn County, including medical, law enforcement, mortuary, sanitation, child care, retail, including grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores, and take-out restaurant workers.

“We support our Public Health Officer in the need to protect the citizens of Big Horn County and beyond during this pandemic. We each need to take the risks seriously and protect ourselves and one another,” said George Real Bird III, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners for Big Horn County. “While this is a difficult decision, continuing business as usual endangers the lives of our community and beyond.”

Under the Order, the following places are closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public:
  • Restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar establishments offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption.
  • Alcoholic beverage service businesses, including bars and other establishments offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
  • Casinos
  • Establishments that provide “full-service experience” including fishing/hunting lodges, resorts, and AirBNB/Home Away/VRBO facilities.


The places subject to this order are permitted and encouraged to offer food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing.

 
 

SARS CoV 2 the virus that causes coronavirus 19 disease (COVID-19)

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new respiratory disease that can spread from person-to-person. It was first identified in Wuhan, China. The virus that causes the disease, COVID-19, has been named SARS CoV 2.
There are many types of human coronaviruses. Four kinds of coronavirus circulate on a seasonal basis causing common cold symptoms. COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a new (or novel) coronavirus (SARS CoV 2) that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases.
taken from CDC COVID-19 COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Transmission is thought to occur the following ways:
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Symptoms range from mild to severe and show 2-14 days after exposure. The most common symptoms are fever greater than 100.4ºF, dry cough, muscle aches and fatigue, and shortness of breath.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

 
 

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The measures that you take to prevent exposure to COVID-19 are the same precautions people take for seasonal influenza. Take steps to protect yourself and others (taken from CDC COVID-19 Protect Yourself)
1. Clean your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
2. Avoid close contact (called social distancing)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
3. Stay home if you’re sick
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
4. Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
5. If you need to leave the house for medical care and you are sick, wear a facemask.
  • If you are sick:  You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick:You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
6. Clean and disinfect
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
To disinfect: Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface. Options include:
  • Diluting your household bleach. To make a bleach solution, mix:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water, OR
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Alcohol solutions.
    • Ensure solution has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
If you are sick:  You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. People who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
No. There is a lot of misleading information about making homemade hand sanitizer. Some of the recipes do not provide a high enough percentage of alcohol to be effective, while others do not take into account skin protection. Proper hand washing is still the best preventive tool. Hand sanitizers do not clean hands, and the dirtier your hands are, the less effective the hand sanitizer may be. Hand sanitizers can also be harsh on your hands, especially when made incorrectly, leading to hands that burn with subsequent hand sanitizer use. Until better guidance is provided by CDC, make hand washing the priority or use commercially-made hand sanitizer.
Current information from the WHO and the CDC indicates that many standard household disinfectants are effective. The CDC recommends looking on disinfectant and seeing if they can “kill” SARS-like or CoV-2. It is believed that a 60% alcohol or a bleach solution of 1/3 cups per gallon of water or 4 tsp per quart of water will work. The bleach solution should be changed daily.
If you are sick, please stay home and avoid public spaces. If you are well, you should assess your own risk and practice proper precautions including social distancing. If you are over 60 years of age or have underlying health conditions, you will be at elevated risk, and are encouraged to limit exposure.
Quarantine is the term used for people who may have been exposed to the disease and have not yet developed symptoms. Isolation serves the same purpose as quarantine. Isolation is the term used for people diagnosed with the disease who need to limit their contact. It keeps people infected with COVID-19 away from healthy people to prevent the sickness from spreading. The health department will continue to monitor our community for cases and follow the guidance from other agencies regarding isolation and quarantine.

 
 

What to do if you think you have COVID-19 (symptoms and testing)

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Refer to the CDC’s guidance if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might be.
If a person believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, they should call their healthcare provider for medical advice. Refer to the CDC’s guidance if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might be.
Not at this time. Vaccine research is currently underway.
The test has been designed to diagnose the illness, not to screen for it. The test will not be not accurate unless you have symptoms.

 
 

COVID-19 in Montana

To date, there are confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in Big Horn County. This is a rapidly evolving situation. If you have questions about what is happening in Big Horn County, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, you can reach us at (406) 548-0123.
Incident command has been initiated in Big Horn County.  The health department has been meeting regularly with community stakeholders to assist in the coordination of screening, diagnosis, and follow up for the residents of Big Horn County.  We have been in close contact with the city, county and state officials and local business in an attempt to help mitigate to effect COVID-19 has on our community. The department has also hired additional staff for communications and response needs.

 
 

Travel

At the present time, you do not need to be tested unless you meet criteria for testing. Criteria for travel-related testing: Travel to a Level 3 country in the last 14 days and symptoms.
No. The test is not designed to screen exposure, but to diagnose illness.
The health department is following CDC guidance for people who have traveled to or through countries with travel advisories. People are asked to check in with the health department upon returning and receive guidance on monitoring for symptoms and whether they need to limit movement in the community.
Consider the importance of your trip. You should check the CDC’s travel recommendations, keeping in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation and that advisories may change during your trip to include your destination or layover locations. When making travel decisions, you not only need to think about the risk of getting COVID-19, but also how your return travel and daily activities may be affected once you get home. If you are in the high-risk group of those over 60 years of age or those with underlying medical conditions, please reconsider all non-essential travel.

 
 

Work & School

If you are sick: Please stay home. If you are well and not at high-risk for COVID: Please practice social distancing, and other COVID precautions, and consider the risk to your health when making decisions. If you are well AND at high-risk for COVID: Please take additional precautions.
  • Employment Work with your employer to see if there are ways to work remotely or if they can provide other accommodation.
  • School Follow the recommendations of the school. Practice preventative measures such as social distancing and hand washing.
  • Everyday activities and events Use your judgment and assess your risk. Use online platforms and methods when possible to conduct personal business. Practice social distancing, proper hand washing, and reconsider attending functions with large groups of people. Stay connected with your friends, family, and neighbors for assistance.
We encourage you to do the following:
  • Review your employee illness policy to ensure that employees can stay home when sick to take care of themselves and prevent spreading illness to coworkers, customers, and clients. Ask employees to stay home if they have coughing, fever, or shortness of breath. If your policy requires a note from a medical professional, we encourage you to temporarily suspend the policy.
  • Ensure that employees have a way to wash hands with soap and water at the workplace. Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of shared areas and commonly touched surfaces, including customer areas. Many standard household disinfectants will work. Check to see if they are effective against CoV-2 or SARS-like viruses. There is also a list of EPA-registered disinfectants that will work.
  • Think about essential staffing needed to continue operations in case you do have employees who call in sick.
  • Think about how you can continue to serve customers and clients using online methods.
  • Reconsider all non-essential travel.
  • Provide employees, especially those who are high-risk, ways to telecommute or provide other reasonable accommodation.

 
 

Managing Anxiety and Stress

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 211.

 
 

Resources by audience: