Our View - Common sense, following guidelines, will beat COVID-19
Last updated 3/26/2020 at 2:02pm
The novel coronavirus 2019 and the disease it causes, COVID-19, is now confirmed to be in Hill County.
It probably was a matter of when, not if, it would be confirmed here.
The important thing for people to remember is to continue the practices health officials and the government have been urging and requiring for more than a week now in Montana.
The disease can cause serious illness and even death, but most people who acquire the virus will have relatively mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Symptoms typically include a dry cough, fever, body aches and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
Some groups, including people 65 and older, people with chronic lung disease or asthma, people with serious heart conditions and people whose immune systems are compromised, including from undergoing cancer treatment, are at a higher risk of severe disease and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.
CDC reports that most people with COVID-19 have a mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. They should not leave their home except to get medical care and should not visit public areas.
Northern Montana Health Care, which issued a release March 13 saying some people were in this area who may have been exposed to the virus, recommended treating the symptoms much like people would treat a severe cold, using Tylenol, Motrin and over-the-counter cold medicines.
CDC also advises people who develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 to get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or wake up completely, and bluish lips or face.
That list is not all-inclusive, and people are told to consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
For more on how to deal with symptoms and to prevent giving the virus to others, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html .
And to avoid acquiring the disease, people should follow the recommendations made in the last few weeks, primarily avoiding close contact with people and using good hygiene including regularly washing their hands.
Soap and water is best for washing hands, CDC said, but if soap and water is not available people should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
The governor has issued an order closing many facilities to reduce the spread of the disease, including public K-12 schools, bars, casinos and restaurants, health clubs, gyms, pools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and bingo halls except for delivery or drive-through or carry-out orders of food.
His order Tuesday also requires all other retail businesses to ensure a minimum distance of six feet between customers, although it does not apply to grocery, health care, medical, or pharmacy services, although they are encouraged to do the same.
He also ordered people to follow social distancing, with no out-of-residence or out-of-home non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people allowed unless people can stay at least six feet apart.
These are guidelines people should want to follow. If they don't want to catch COVID-19, they should avoid going out, avoid being around large groups of people and try to stay at least six feet away from people.
And people and groups are stepping up to help people do just that, offering grocery shopping and pickup services and other assistance to people who want to avoid acquiring the virus.
The virus is here, but if people in north-central Montana use common sense and follow the recommendations and guidelines, we can deal with it.