The Ravalli County COVID-19 Incident Management Team reported Monday that there are no new positive tests in the valley over the weekend. Three of the county's 5 positive Coronavirus cases have recovered and the most recent 2 are in isolation at home. In discussions about Montana "reopening," Dr. Carole Calderwood said she is encouraged with the residents' health practices so far - staying at home, distancing, wearing masks and frequently washing hands. She said, "We don't want those efforts to have been pointless" by opening up too soon and creating a disease spike. The team is looking closely at a "phased opening" plan that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended. If Governor Bullock announces a plan for the state, the county will post their own plan on the Ravalli County official website.

The National Plan CDC plan has three basic phases (listed below):
Phase 1- Continue to shelter in place, precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents, distancing, avoiding socializing in groups of more than 10, minimize non-essential travel, and adhering to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel. Schools, organized youth activities, and bars should remain closed. Visitors to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited. Large venues – sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship can operate under strict distancing protocols. Gyms can open if they adhere to strict distancing and sanitation protocols.

Phase 2- CDC recommends all vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents. People returning to work should be aware that they may carry the virus back home. When in public, people should still practice distancing. Social settings of more than 50 – where distancing may not be practical - should be avoided. Schools and organized youth activities can reopen. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals should be avoided. Large venues – sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship can operate under strict distancing protocols. Gyms can open if they adhere to strict distancing and sanitation protocols. Bars may open with diminished standing-room occupancy.

Phase 3- Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions but should still practice physical distancing, minimize social exposure.

Dr. Calderwood said there is more information about phased openings at the CDC website, which you can easily access from the Ravalli County COVID-19 site. Of course, local comments and questions can be directed to The Emergency Operations Center at (406) 375-6650.