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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused severe illness, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middles East Respiratory Syndrome). COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus not previously identified in humans prior to December 2019.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), Lake County Public Health (LCPH), and CSKT Tribal Health have been and will continue to closely monitor the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.
COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
- Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
- Having these small droplets and particles that contain the virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
- Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.
For more information about how COVID-19 spreads, visit the CDC's How COVID-19 Spreads page to learn how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Both St. Luke Community Healthcare 406-676-4441 and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center 406-883-5680 provide COVID-19 testing.
Tribal Health Clinics in Polson and St. Ignatius also provide COVID-19 testing for Tribal Health Recipients.
Contact tracing identifies, notifies, and monitors the close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact Tracing is an important tool to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. A close contact to someone with COVID-19 may develop the illness and spread it to others, so identifying and quarantining those who were exposed is key to stopping the spread.
There are 4 steps involved in contact tracing:
- Identify a positive case. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, the testing laboratory notifies the local health department of the positive test.
- Interview. A health department official that is trained in contact tracing interviews the person who tested positive in order to find close contacts.
- Notify close contacts. Health department staff will then notify the close contacts of a person who tested positive. To protect privacy, the close contacts will not know with whom they came in close contact.
- Provide resources. Close contacts get instructions for quarantining and other resources, if needed. Health department staff will check in with close contacts frequently.
A close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic cases, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Visit the CDC's page on isolation and quarantine.
It’s important to note that even when people are released from isolation, many of them continue to feel the effects of COVID-19 infection long after they are released from isolation.
Yes! COVID-19 vaccine is available to all Lake County residents 5 years of age and older.
Please visit the Montana Vaccination Sign-up to schedule an appointment.
You may also contact St. Luke Community Healthcare, St. Joseph Medical Center or CSKT Tribal Health for vaccination information.
Lake County Public Health thanks everyone in the community for their patience and continued diligence (wearing a mask, hand washing, physically distancing and staying home when sick) as we work to distribute vaccine to our community.
If You Test Positive
- Isolate for five full days and inform your close contacts. After five days, you may end your quarantine if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.
- Wear a mask for an additional five days when around others and avoid indoor gatherings.
- Complete this questionnaire.
- Report positive home test results to DPHHS.
Lake County/Flathead Reservation COVID-19 case total (updated monthly)
Lake County Vaccines (updated monthly)
54,400 doses given ~ 18,553 (60%) fully immunized