Hill County Health Board discusses Sara Alert, and COVID-19 trends


Last updated 9/21/2020 at 11:58am

The Hill County Health Board met for its weekly COVID-19 update on Friday to discuss current trends and the implementation of a new system to improve contact tracing efficiency.

Hill County Public Health Director Kim Larson, who couldn’t attend the meeting, submitted a report to Hill County Commission Chair Mike Wendland who read it to the board.

The report said much of the week was spent answering emails and phone calls about events and school re-openings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report said the department has also installed a new system called Sara Alert that allows people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19, or have been potentially exposed to it, to report their daily symptoms.

“We see this as a force multiplier and a way to apply our time more efficiently,” Wendland read from the report.

Public Health Nurse Jessica Kennedy-Stiffarm said so far the system appears to be working very well.

Hill County Health Officer Jessica Sheehy, who is resigning effective Oct. 1, said the county has 127 cases total with 25 active and two ongoing hospitalizations.

She said the county has conducted 1,847 tests with 32 pending.

Sheehy said current trends regarding COVID-19’s spread are likely to continue.

“I think we’re going to be seeing this pattern in Hill County for a while,” she said.

She said there were no serious red flags last week even with events and school re-openings so far.

Sheehy also said there are no updates on the Northern Montana Care Center, which reported it had a staff member test positive with COVID-19, and the last she’d heard they are still working on contact tracing.

Hill County Attorney Karen Alley said it has been a quiet week with no developments on the legal side of Hill County’s pandemic response.

Wendland said the next COVID-19 update would be Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.


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