A surge in COVID-19 cases is hitting the Bitterroot.
Ravalli County Public Health Director Tiffany Webber says the county had 231 active cases as of Monday evening. Additionally, the first reported case of the omicron variant was confirmed in the county late last week.
Webber also says while they are seeing more reporting of positive home testing there are some questions about the actual number of positive cases reported by residents using the antigen home test kits.
There are more people using the home kits and Webber says they “are becoming increasingly hard to find in Ravalli County.” Ravalli County Public Health does not have any home kits in stock. Additional kits have been ordered but it’s not clear when they will arrive, according to Webber.
Residents who are using the home test kits and need an isolation letter or a release to return to are being asked to email Public Health at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, date of birth, and contact number.
The Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is continuing to see an increase in the omicron variant with Webber noting that over the past few days more than 80% of the specimens at the state lab have been sequenced as omicron, “indicating it is widely circulating in Montana.”
Ravalli County Public Health recommends getting vaccinated and boosted as a best practice.
The Montana COVID-19 state tracking map shows Ravalli County with 50 new and 216 active cases on Tuesday. To date, a total of 5,736 cases have been confirmed including 5,391 recoveries and 219 COVID-19 related deaths.
A total of 21,524 Ravalli County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 representing 50% of the eligible population.
People are being encouraged to do the following to help prevent COVID-19:
- Wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer
- Physically distance whenever possible
- Masking when appropriate
- Use home test kits as a decision making tool
- Improve ventilation whenever possible
- Stay home when sick