COVID-19 in Lewis and Clark County
Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) has activated its emergency response team and is working daily to prepare for the likelihood that COVID-19 will spread to Lewis and Clark County. We are also working closely with local health-care providers to monitor for 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 over age 60 and people with existing health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease.
COVID-19 Global Case Map (Johns Hopkins University)
|Click here to see the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lewis and Clark County.|
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
Forget About Masks
Health experts, including the U.S. Surgeon General, don’t recommend that the general public buy or use face masks. Masks primarily prevent a person from giving the disease to someone else and are less effective in preventing well people from getting sick. In fact, they might actually increase the risk of infection. Masks 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.
Assess Travel Risks
The best thing you can do to avoid the disease is to avoid exposure to the virus that causes it. In part, this means avoiding travel to areas where the virus is epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues advisories for travelers regarding potential exposure to disease in other countries. These travel alerts are likely to change as the disease spreads. Visit the following link regularly to get up-to-date information.
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