COVID-19 in Lewis and Clark County
Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) has activated its emergency response team and is working daily to respond to COVID-19 in Lewis and Clark County. We are also working closely with local health-care providers to detect and investigate cases of the disease.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that originated in China in late 2019 and has since spread throughout the world. The disease can have mild to severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and trouble breathing. It can also be fatal, especially among people age 65 and older and people with serious, existing health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease.
What You Can Do to Avoid COVID-19
Distance Yourself from Others
"Social distancing" is one of the most effective strategies you can use to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Social distancing means avoiding crowded places and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
Other examples of social distancing are:
- Working from home instead of at the office
- Closing schools or switching to online classes
- Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
- Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings
With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing is to slow down the spread of the disease in order to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations and to reduce the burden on health-care systems and workers. Now is not the time for hugs and handshakes.
History indicates that these measures work. A 2007 study found that, during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, cities that used several interventions at an early phase of the pandemic—like closing schools and banning public gatherings—had significantly lower death rates.
Practice Good Personal Hygiene
Everyday precautions that can help prevent the spread of flu and other germs are also effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
- If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Stay home when you’re sick;
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash; and
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated. EPA-Approved Disinfectants
Use Appropriate Face Coverings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that the general public wear cloth face coverings – not surgical masks or N-95 respirators – in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (like grocery stores and pharmacies).
But the CDC warns that face coverings should not give anyone a false sense of security! Social distancing and hand washing are still very important protective measures and should be continued.
You can use bandanas or scarves to cover your face. If you want to make a homemade face mask, there are lots of patterns and instructions out there. Here are 2 that are recommended by reliable sources:
Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for people who show symptoms of COVID-19 and for health workers and others who are taking care of patients at home. People who are in direct contact with people who are infected must change their masks repeatedly.
Here's how to wear a cloth face covering correctly.
If you'd like to donate cloth face coverings, visit Volunteer Helena to find out how.
If you need cloth face coverings, please use this form to request them.
If You Think You Have COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever over 100 degrees F, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you have mild symptoms, stay home if possible and contact your medical provider by phone for guidance. Your provider will make sure you don’t expose others in the office or hospital setting. He or she will also work with public health professionals to determine if you need to be tested.
If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, seek care immediately. Let the 9-1-1 dispatcher know that you might have COVID-19.
Older patients and people who have underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness.
Questions or concerns? Call the state hotline at 1-888-333-0461