The Wednesday afternoon report from Ravalli County Public Health showed 45 new cases of COVID-19 in the Bitterroot Valley - twice the previous high daily total. As of that report, there are 176 active cases of COVID-19, with seven people hospitalized. Public Information Officer Joseph Hopkins said all new cases are being investigated by Public Health nurses, who have been overwhelmed with the surge of positive COVID-19 tests.

To help everybody, Public Health has issued a "Close Contact" instruction page on the Ravalli County official COVID-19 website. The instructions deal with the main questions you might have if you've been designated a Close Contact to a COVID-infected person or if you suspect you might have had an exposure to a positive case and have not yet been contacted by Public Health.

Some highlights from the "Close Contact" instructions include:

  • Remain at home for 14 days following your last contact with the infected person Even If You Tested Negative.
  • Restrict all activities - don't go to work, school or public areas. It is okay to be outside in your own yard.
  • If you live with others, practice social distancing and, if possible, use separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Wear a face mask.
  • Do not prepare food for others. Eat separately and disinfect dishes and glassware. Use a dishwasher.
  • Clean all "high touch" commonly used surfaces daily with soap and water.
  • There's more information on the website, so check it out. By the way, if you develop symptoms, call your health provider, especially if you become short of breath. Once again, for everyone - Wear a face mask in public, cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often during the day, and watch your social distancing. For additional questions, call 375-6672 or your local health provider.