Havre Daily News - News you can use

COVID-19 closures continue

Planning on protocols occurring in many agencies and organizations today

 

March 16, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

A sign near the turnoff to Bullhook Road that runs past the entrance to Havre High School reads "school closed until further notice" Monday morning. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has closed all Montana schools for two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Havre Daily News staff

Editor’s note: This removes a statement that the Great Northern Fair Board meeting Tuesday was canceled. Board Chair Tyler Smith said the meeting still is scheduled for Tuesday.

With the number of confirmed presumptive cases of the disease caused by novel coronavirus 2019, COVID-19, growing in Montana, the number of events and programs being closed or suspended is growing.

Following Box Elder and Rocky Boy schools announcing Saturday they would be closed starting today, Havre and Hays-Lodge Pole schools announced Sunday they also would be closing starting today.

Then Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive Sunday including that all Montana K-12 public schools would be closed for two weeks.

The Montana University System had already announced that all units of the university system would be transitioning to online or other distanced learning procedures to reduce exposure to the virus.

And more and more events are being canceled or suspended and planning is underway this morning to determine what other actions and procedures will be used.

Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that four presumptive cases - they are called presumptive until confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - had been confirmed in Montana, the day after he declared an emergency in the state

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday.

In this part of north-central Montana, no cases had been confirmed as of this morning, but Northern Montana Health Care reported some people had a high risk of being exposed to the virus and began imposing restrictions on visitation and set up an alternative COVID-19 clinic.

Pandemic starting in December

The virus was first detected in China in late December.

World Health Organization reported today that, since the outbreak in December, worldwide, 164,837 cases have been confirmed and 6,470 COVID-19-related deaths have been confirmed.

It reports that 146 countries, areas or territories have confirmed cases.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that 1,629 cases have been reported in the U.S. in 46 states and the District of Columbia, and it has caused 41 deaths in the U.S. The new update on its numbers were to be posted at noon today, its site reports.

Montana Department of Health and Human Service reported this morning that, as of 7:45 p.m. Sunday, seven cases of COVID-19 are reported in Montana, although one was of a part-time resident with no documented exposures or close contacts in Montana and was not tested in Montana.

The website reports that 204 people have been tested and six have been cofirmed with the virus.

One of those was Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian, leading to the chancellor of Montana State University-Northern going into self-isolation.

Locally

A release from Northern said Chancellor Greg Kegel was at an arms length from Clayton Christian at the suspect board of regents meeting where it is suspected Clayton Christian was exposed, in Dillon March 5, and has gone into self-quarantine until March 20.

No one from Northern who attended the meeting is showing any signs of the virus, but they are asked to self-isolate, the release said.

Bear Paw Development Corp. Executive Director and Regent Paul Tuss was not at that meeting, but Bear Paw has implemented some restrictions.

Bear Paw Development is suspending all travel, beginning immediately, a release said, including travel within Bear Paw's five-county region of Liberty, Hill, Blaine, Phillips and Chouteau Counties. 

Additionally, Bear Paw Development's offices in downtown Havre will be closed to the public until further notice, allowing its team of economic and community development practitioners to continue its work while respecting the health and safety of others, the release said.

And a multitude of other organizations are implementing restrictions or planning what to do.

Closures, restrictions and services

The City of Havre, Hill County Commissioners and Aaniiih Nakoda College on Fort Belknap Indian Reservation each were holding a plan of action meeting this morning to discuss what they are going to do due to the coronavirus.

Havre Mayor Tim Solomon said he will plan to follow the orders that Bullock announced about not holding gatherings or events that have 50 or more attendees. 

City Council is still on for this evening, but the Streets and Sidewalks Committee meeting that was going to be followed after City Council is canceled.

The Havre City Swimming Pool and Havre-Hill County Library are both closed through Friday, March 27.

Library Director Rachel Rawn said for people to just hold onto their items and check the library's Facebook page for any updates.

Blaine County is following CDC recommendations. Encouraging people to stay home if they are sick and get tested if they have symptoms. They are also encouraging social distancing by minimizing social gatherings. They recommend washing hands thoroughly, not sneezing into your hand, etc.

They are also encouraging people to use reliable sources of information, and not let misinformation cause hysteria. The Blaine County Public Health Department is open to answer questions.

Chouteau County has not put any additional restrictions in place.

The Liberty County Commission is working on a plan for dealing with the coronavirus.

North-Central Montana Transit System is closed for the day.

Fort Belknap Transit is also closed due to the coronavirus. It is unknown if these closures will continue beyond today.

Hill County Sheriff's Department is deciding if there should be restrictions on inmate visitation. More information will be available later.

Chouteau County has confirmed that it has no confirmed cases and no tests are being done.

Stone Child College is restricting access to the college, with only students, faculty and staff allowed to enter the campus, and the only through the entrance at the Kennewash Building.

And Northern Montana Health Care has canceled all visitation at Northern Montana Hospital and Northern Montana Care Center with both buildings locked.

The Emergency Department on the second floor is the only entrance point and any people entering will be screened.

"The patience of the public is being requested," a NMHC release said.

In the Labor and Delivery Department at the hospital, laboring mothers will be allowed one adult support person to be with them. There will be no children admitted into the department in any circumstances.

If a patient is facing imminent death at the hospital, special arrangements will be made for visitors.

Both the Northern Montana Family Medical Center and the Northern Montana Specialty Medical Center are open for appointments.

People exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 who need medical evaluation are asked to go to the alternate clinic on the east end of the hospital campus, in what was known as Medical Group East. People should park at 134 13th St. People can call 262-1570 to arrange for an evaluation.

Watch for more about closures and updates on the COVID-19 situation at http://www.havredailynews.com and in upcoming editions of the Havre Daily News.

——

In wake of coronavirus, COVID-19

By Havre Daily News staff

Havre Daily New will remain open through the coronavirus outbreak to assist its customers and communities.

As dynamics of the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, continue to change, the Havre Daily wants to assure its customers and colleagues that health and safety is among its top priorities.

Right now, prevention is the best measure people can take, and the Havre Daily is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services guidelines and recommendations to help prevent further spread of the virus.

The Havre Daily is adjusting some of its business practices and practicing social distancing to minimize the possibility of exposure. The office will remain open, but the Havre Daily recommends customers call 265- 6795 to confirm before they visit. Following the Centers for Disease Control’s suggestion to practice social distancing, employees will follow social distancing practices with customers and co-workers. 

While the Havre Daily cleans its facility daily, it is implementing additional cleaning protocols to assure as safe a shopping environment as possible.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Empty parking lots are seen from above Monday at Havre High School. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has closed all Montana schools for two weeks to slow the growth of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic and Gov. Steve Bullock has declared a state of emergency for Montana. As the full impact of this disease continues to unfold, The Havre Daily will rely on public health officials’ recommendations and make fact-based decisions regarding the regular operation of its business and regulatory activities. 

In the meantime, people should take every precaution to prevent the spread of germs:

1. Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds,

2. Cough into their elbow, aka Vampire Cough,

3. Promptly dispose of used tissues and don’t touch their face.

4. If people feel sick, don’t go out.

The Havre Daily will continue to closely monitor the situation and do all it can to put the health and safety of individuals first.

Contact HDN at 265-6795 or the Editor, [email protected] or daily calenda, [email protected]

 

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