Spike in case numbers and close contacts
At least 111 people were quarantined in Madison County due being in close contact with positive COVID-19 cases, as of Sept. 29.
Madison County had 11 active COVID-19 cases Tuesday. That number is expected to multiply in the upcoming days as test results are returned. According to Madison County Public Health Nurse Melissa Brummel, most of the current cases are not connected to other positive cases. COVID-19 is present throughout the county, including Harrison School, Sheridan School and Ruby Valley Medical Center.
“COVID is in the county,” Brummel said. “It’s really important that we step up our diligence because it’s undoubtedly here again.”
The 111 people in quarantine accumulated in four days. According to Brummel, the number of close contacts that the health department is having to notify is comparable to the beginning of the pandemic, an indication that people are not social distancing. MCPHD is averaging 20 to 30 close contacts per positive case. Brummel said the high number of close contact notifications are not related to school children. “We’re not going to end a pandemic with contact tracing numbers like this,” Brummel said. “We’re not going to even slow it down.”
The Madison County Public Health Department has notified all close contacts for the county’s 11 active cases. Individuals notified as close contacts are required to quarantine for at least 14 days from the time of potential exposure, regardless of their test results. The novel virus can go undetected in an individual for up to two weeks. A negative test result after being in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case does not guarantee the virus was not transmitted. If quarantined individuals develop symptoms within the 14 days, they will need to be tested for COVID-19.
Harrison and Sheridan schools closed on Monday to disinfect because a staff member in each school tested positive for the coronavirus. RVMC reported Monday of an exposure to COVID-19 in an isolated department, which has produced two positive cases, according to a press release from RVMC. The department is temporarily closed for disinfection. RVMC took the proper steps to quarantine those who came into close contact with the cases.
Brummel said the county’s facilities are doing a good job in responding to COVID-19 cases within their buildings. Communication between the community leaders has been streamlined and is proving effective. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is assisting the county in handling the case load.