COVID-19 in Billings

COVID-19 in Billings

GALLATIN COUNTY- In Gallatin County, officials are urging residents to stay home, saying they are seeing the first signs of person-to-person spread in Montana’s hardest-hit county.

Four new cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the county Sunday, and for the first time, none of the newest cases have any connection to out-of-state travel.

The total number of Gallatin County cases is now up to ten, with 34 confirmed statewide.

All of the patients are now in self-isolation at home.

There are still no confirmed deaths from the virus and many do recover.

But a warning from health officials: Those facts have made some people too comfortable and unwilling to follow orders to protect others.

Officials say that some of the new patients did not follow warnings, going into the public before they had their test results, potentially putting others at risk.

“Complacency will cause us to make small decisions that may seem trivial, decisions to not wash your hands or to go socialize with friends. Decisions that will allow this virus to spread silently,” said Matt Kelley, the health officer for Gallatin City-County Health Department. “Complacency will speed this pandemic along, upend our healthcare system and cause preventable new cases and deaths. Now is the time to pay attention and take this seriously. Now is the time for each of us to take personal responsibility not just for ourselves, but for our fellow humans.”

Kelley added that community transmission is not surprising, it is inevitable.

Advice for the public stays the same, stay home, avoid groups of people, wash your hands and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Reiterating these simple, mundane practices will save lives.

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