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People warned to use precautions during Phase One re-opening


Last updated 5/1/2020 at 7:46am

Havre Daily News staff

Montana is moving into Phase One of re-opening, with businesses opening and more allowed to open next week, but officials have warned that novel coronavirus 2019 is still out there and, at least until a vaccine is developed and approved, people still need to be cautious.

The Phase One directives include requirements for businesses, but also directs people to still use social distancing, wear a cloth mask when out, self-quarantine for 14 days if coming in from out of state, and to not go out unless it is essential, except for outdoor recreation.

Bullock said moving to Phase Two is not on a schedule. It all depends on conditions as they proceed, and increases in confirmations of COVID-19 could extend Phase One indefinitely or require more restrictions be put in place.

More will be known in two weeks after Phase One began, which is the general incubation period of the virus.

People are asked to continue to use precautions to reduce the chance of a new wave of the virus starting in Montana.

People can visit http://covid19.mt.gov to find more information on the Montana phased re-opening plan and its requirements.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health care organizations and officials have issued recommendations to people on how to reduce the chance of contracting or spreading the novel coronavirus 2019, and providing recommendations on what people should do if they have symptoms of the disease.

On its page telling people how to avoid acquiring the virus, CDC reports:

• No vaccine exists at the moment to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 — COVID-19.

• The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

• The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

— Between people who are in close contact with one another — within about 6 feet.

— Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

— These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

— Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

CDC recommends that people should:

Clean hands often

• Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after people have been in a public place, or after blowing their nose coughing, or sneezing.

• If soap and water are not readily available, people should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. They should cover all surfaces of their hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

• Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

• People should avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Put distance between themselves and other people.

— Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.

— Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Cover mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

• People could spread COVID-19 to others even if they do not feel sick.

• Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.

— Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

• The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case the people wearing the mask are infected.

• People should not use a facemask meant for a health care worker.

• People should continue to keep about 6 feet between themselves and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

• People who are in a private setting and do not have on a cloth face covering should remember to always cover cover mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze or use the inside of their elbow.

• Throw used tissues in the trash.

• Immediately wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, people should clean their hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

• People should 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, people should clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

COVID-19 symptoms

CDC’s website says if people have a fever or cough, they might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If people think they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should contact their health care provider immediately.

CDC says symptoms may appear in two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with the following symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID-19.

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or trouble breathing,

or at least two of the following symptoms:

• Fever

• Chills

• Repeated shaking with chills

• Muscle pain

• Headache

• Sore throat

• New loss of taste or smell.

Children may have symptoms similar to adults and generally have mild illness.

CDC says the above list is not all-inclusive and people should consult their medical provider about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

If people have an emergency warning sign they should get medical attention right away.

CDC says warning signs include:

• Trouble breathing

• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

• New confusion or inability to arouse

• Bluish lips or face

It adds that this list is not all inclusive. People should consult their medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to them.


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