CCHD releases new health order, goes into effect Nov. 1; four more COVID-19 related deaths in Cascade County

The Cascade County City-County Health Department has released the new health order, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Nov. 1.

The new order will remain in place until the rate of new COVID-19 infections is at or below 25 per 100,000 for four consecutive weeks. As of Oct. 28, the rate was 64 per 100,000.

The city-county Board of Health met Oct. 28 to discuss measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Cascade County as the hospitals have exceeded their bed capacity and medical providers have raised alarm saying their facilities and resources are strained.

Whittier closed for a week due to COVID-19

On Oct. 31, the county added 31 new cases bringing the total to 2,199. Of those 1,255 are active, according to the state map. As of Oct. 30, there are 57 active cases within the Great Falls Public Schools district.

On Oct. 31, CCHD announced four more COVID-19 related deaths in the county since Oct. 27, bringing the county’s total to 30.

The most recent were a male in his 70s, two females in their 70s and a female in her 90s.

“I am deeply sorry for the families and friends of these individuals who have died because of COVID-19. It is terrible to see the impact this disease is having, and how difficult it is for their loved ones to say goodbye in such a difficult and strange time. Please, for the sake of our own neighbors and community, take the precautions that have been recommended for so many months,” Trisha Gardner, county health office, said in a release.

Between two meetings, the health board discussed and took comment for about six hours and settled on limiting the number of people at events or gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors to 50; and reducing capacity for some businesses to 50 percent.

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The reduced capacity applies to restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffee houses, bars, brew pubs, taverns, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, casinos, gyms and movie theaters, according to the new health order.

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Food service establishments that serve a population that depends on it as one of its sole sources of food, including
university dining facility or cafeterias in K-12 schools, hospital and care facilities, room service in hotels, crisis shellers or similar institutions, airport concessionaires, and any facilities necessary for the response to the emergency/all of which may continue to operate using necessary-on1y personnel, according to the order.

Event sizes are limited to 50 people regardless of the ability to distance or the building’s capacity with some exceptions.

Worship facilities may exceed that number, but are subject to a limit of 75 percent of the facility’s capacity and require distancing and face coverings.

The limit does not apply to the polls on Nov. 3, but distancing and face coverings are required.

Childcare facilities are not included in the limit.

School activities, both academic and extracurricular are not included in the restriction, but will be governed by the local school districts and school boards, according to the order.

Adult sporting events are subject to the new health order and youth activities must comply with the governor’s directives currently in place.