Novel Coronavirus Update
Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) and Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) officials are closely monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. We have health protocols in place to screen for such cases and initiate emergency preparedness protocols, if needed. At this time, there are no patients in Flathead County or the state of Montana with confirmed 2019-novel Coronavirus.
“With only six confirmed cases in the United States, this area is at a very low risk for novel coronavirus spread,” says Jeffrey Tjaden, MD, infectious disease physician at KRH. “Nevertheless, we are always prepared for outbreaks like these and we will continue to take all necessary precautionary measures to ensure our community’s safety.”
Health officials identified several steps community members can take to protect their health:
- If you have not been in east Asia or southeast Asia since early January, your risk of having the virus is very low. There are many cases of the common cold and flu in our area with similar symptoms. If someone is ill, it’s critically important not to assume that they have this novel strain of Coronavirus.
- If you have traveled to China in the last 14 days and are experiencing symptoms of a cold, flu, or pneumonia (coughing, fever, chills, chest pain when you breathe or cough, and difficulty breathing), call your health provider immediately.
- If you have been in contact with an individual who is a lab-confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus and are experiencing symptoms of a cold, flu, or pneumonia (coughing, fever, chills, chest pain when you breathe or cough, and difficulty breathing), call your health provider immediately.
- It is currently cold and influenza season. Practice good hygiene and self-care — get plenty of rest, wash your hands often, and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you sneeze or cough.
The FCCHD has established an information-only hotline for the community to learn updates, which can be reached at (406) 751-8188.
“Public health officials and local hospitals are working together to ensure the community’s safety in the event that we would see a confirmed case in the area,” says Lisa Dennison, infectious disease supervisor at the Flathead City-County Health Department. “In the event we have a local issue, we can act quickly to identify, isolate and protect our community.”