The Ravalli County COVID-19 Incident Management Team (IMT) will be having fewer meetings and not as many news releases, as long as the current virus situation remains the same. As of noon Wednesday, April 29, no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Ravalli County (and in the state of Montana, for that matter) and the 5 people who earlier tested positive for the coronavirus in the valley have recovered, according to health officials.

However, the good news comes with a warning or two or three. Dr. Carol Calderwood, Incident Commander, said that the Public Health Department and the IMT will be waiting for the next three weeks to see if any positive tests show up. She said it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to appear after a person is exposed to the virus. And, with the reopening of businesses, the possibility of exposure increases. Even if there are no positives then, she cautioned, that doesn't mean the virus is gone from the community. The Ravalli County Team recommends that salons and barbershops follow the Governor's directions for distancing and facemasks. Missoula County has not allowed those businesses to reopen yet. For the general public, the IMT recommends wearing a facemask in public, when going to appointments and where you cannot maintain physical distancing. The Ravalli County Emergency Operations Center will continue to answer questions at 406-375-6650 and will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you are arriving in Ravalli County from out of state, please check in with them.