New COVID-19 restrictions in effect; two more COVID-19 related deaths in Cascade County
Cascade County added 60 new cases on Nov. 20, according to state data, bringing the county’s total to 4,404.
Of those, 3,561 are active, according to the state data.
According to the state data, the county has added 772 new cases this week, though earlier in the week, officials said there were backlogs in reporting data to the state system and a upgrade to the state’s system that caused some adjustments to the numbers.
On Nov. 19, the Cascade County City-County Health Department announced two additional COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the county’s total to 58.
The two deaths since Nov. 17 were a male in his 70s and a female in her 70s, according to CCHD.
As of Nov. 19, there were 66 active cases associated with Great Falls Public Schools. The district opted to go remote this week to slow the spread and allow staff to complete quarantine periods. At the end of last week, the district hit a high of 111 cases and earlier that week, there had been 1,188 people isolated or quarantined in relation to 87 active cases.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive with new restrictions went into effect 5 a.m. Nov. 20 that require restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos to operate at 50 percent capacity and close no later than 10 p.m.; limiting public gatherings and event sizes to 25 people where social distancing isn’t possible or observed; and recovering face coverings in all counties regardless of case count.
Trisha Gardner, Cascade County health officer, is issuing a local health order to reinforce Bullock’s directive and continuing the recent county health order that went into effect Nov. 1, that limits other establishments to 50 percent operating capacity as well as restaurants, bars, breweries and casinos.
Any local health order can be more strict than the governor’s but not less so.
The county’s restrictions are in place until the daily average of new cases is 25 per 100,000 for four consecutive weeks. As of Nov. 13, the rate was 83 per 100,000. When the county health board voted to implement restrictions, the rate was 99 per 100,000.
On Nov. 20, CCHD said that the county is seeing a “weekly average case rate much higher than usual. This is due to the large influx of reporting on Saturday, November 14th (440) and Tuesday, November 17th (540).”
This week’s rate is 227 per 100,000, according to CCHD. The average rate per 100,000 for the past four weeks was 118 per 100,000 from Oct. 22 through Nov. 18, according to CCHD.
CCHD is asking that businesses and individuals follow known prevention measures including:
- Staying home when you are sick and getting tested if symptoms are consistent with COVID-19
- Limiting interactions with others and thinking critically about the necessity of engaging in certain events/outings/gatherings
- Social distancing wherever possible
- Universal masking and proper mask wearing
- Good sanitation practices and hand washing
- Isolating if you are positive, and notifying everyone you were in contact with for 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or 48 hours prior to test date
- Quarantining if you have had close contact with a positive case, and continuing to quarantine for 2 weeks from the time you were exposed