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Emergency service, law enforcement, implementing coronavirus precautions


March 19, 2020

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

A Havre Fire Department vehicle is parked at the department on Fifth Avenue Wednesday. The fire department, police station and sheriff's office, among other local agencies and organizations, are taking serious precautions to limit exposure to COVID-19.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Havre Police Department, Hill County Sheriff's Office and Havre Fire Department are taking precautions and increasing preparedness.

A release from the Fire Department said, when people request emergency medical services through 911 or other dispatchers, the caller should say if they are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or have traveled somewhere the coronavirus has been known to be present. 

"This will provide EMS personnel the time to prepare to treat you as expediently as possible while minimizing the risk for responding EMS personnel, allowing them to put on appropriate personal protective equipment," it said. 

EMS providers may be seen wearing goggles, gowns, masks and gloves, the release said, adding that seeing that gear does not mean COVID-19 is present as many other reasons exist requiring such equipment.

During the cold and flu season, the release said, patients are commonly asked to wear a surgical mask if sneezing and coughing, which reduces the spread of germs. Other treatments will be provided as necessary.

The release said EMS providers will also be working with hospitals to find out the best course of action for each patient and wants to remind people to follow the Montana Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

Hill County Sheriff Jamie Ross said in a release that they are suspending all in-person visitation, religious services, narcotics anonymous and alcoholics anonymous meetings in the Hill County Detention Center.

"Inmates will still be able to communicate with their friends and family through mail and telephone," Ross said in the release.

He added that at the sheriff's administrative office applicant fingerprinting and concealed weapon permit processing has also been suspended.

To avoid exposure and because of the strain on resources, the sheriff's office is trying to handle as many calls as possible over the telephone and is asking people to avoid coming to the sheriff's office at all if possible and to use the telephone. The number for the Hill County Sheriff's Office is 265-2512.

Havre Police Chief Gabe Matosich said his department will be releasing a statement for the public soon.


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