Two new COVID-19 cases in Cascade County; health officials discuss test accuracy; Studio Montage updates
Cascade County City-County Health Department said July 12 that there are two new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, bringing the total to 51 cases.
The two new cases are both men in their 70s who were identified through contact tracing, according to CCHD. They are isolated and CCHD is performing contact tracing.
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As of July 10, there were 17 active cases in the county so the new cases make 19, depending on whether anyone was released from quarantine or isolation since Friday night.
Several readers have asked about the accuracy of the COVID-19 tests, so The Electric asked CCHD and Alluvion about the drive through test.
Trisha Garnder, county health officer, said that the state asks for a second test on asymptomatic individuals to confirm the first positive result.
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“This is because the test was designed for symptomatic individuals so there is a chance of false positives in asymptomatic individuals. In general the PCR swab tests are very accurate (95%-99%) if performed correctly. I have every faith that Alluvion employees are conducting tests in the correct manner,” Gardner said.
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Tanya Houston of Alluvion said the state has requested that they perform a confirmatory test when we they have an asymptomatic individual test positive.
“If a person is symptomatic or is a contact, our understanding is that follow up testing will not be performed. If the person is asymptomatic, as indicated in our past answer we have been asked to retest. We always work in collaboration with the Health Department and State and follow these recommendations,” Houston said.
In an email to The Electric, Studio Montage owner DeeAnna Corn said that one of her team members contacted her saying she was feeling “off” and was encourage to get tested and stay home.
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Corn said the salon reached out to other team members they knew had been in contact with that person and also asked them to test and not return to work until they had results. Initially, the salon had six people test and two tested positive for COVID, Corn said, and they were waiting on results from one more as of Friday.
On July 9, Alluvion came to the salon and tested the remaining employees and as of Friday they were all negative, Corn said.
She said several team members had traveled out of state recently to visit family and requested that they wore a face mask when they returned to work. Corn said some of them gathered for July 4 but didn’t know the extent of how many people were there.
“I reached out [Friday] to see if they knew how they got it, and they are still uncertain as no one around them has yet received a positive result. They also did not spend the weekend together,” she said.
Corn said she chose to close the salon on Wednesday, when they were notified they had a confirmed case.
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“I could have remained open, but just based on wanting to make sure our guests and team members were safe, I wanted the opportunity to step back and determine how to move forward. This won’t be the first person that gets a positive result, and I don’t want to be put in the place of closing down every few months. During this time we will be looking at every aspect of how we can best move forward,” Corn said.
She said that since Phase 2 started on June 1, the salon took these measures:
- If a client came in with a mask on, we wore one, no questions asked
- If we traveled away from our little bubble, we would wear masks
- If we traveled out of state , we would need to wear a mask
- If we traveled to a hot spot in Montana, we would need to wear a mask
The salon added the following when reopening for Phase 1:
- Room purifiers for each spa room and break room
- Face masks available for team members and clients
- Hand sanitizer and wipes placed around the facility to be used by team members or clients
- Increased sanitation during the day-including using Clorax wipes between each guest at the shampoo bowl and station
- Cleaning/sanitation crew every night
“This has definitely shown me that we can’t do business as usual…and that’s hard. I believe we can come up with a win/win but I have to sit back and take the time to brainstorm with other salon and spa professionals, health care workers and leaders within our community. And I am not ready to open the doors until I can feel confident, I’m providing a safe space for my team and guests. Hopefully that will be sooner than later,” Corn said.