The infections go up and up. Ravalli County Public Health had large numbers to report Monday afternoon, October 26. There were 75 new positive tests from the weekend and Monday. According to Public Information Officer Joseph Hopkins, that brings the total of active Coronavirus infections to 267, which is 52 more than last Friday afternoon. Of those, nine people are hospitalized.

Earlier Monday, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported a Monday total of 622 positive tests. That's in addition to the total from the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, which was 1,393 positive tests in the state. Active Montana cases are almost at 10,000. Only two weeks ago, the active caseload was 4,250.

The phone lines at Ravalli County Public Health are often busy as the staff and volunteers do contact-tracing and handle the active caseload. As a result, officials have provided detailed information articles at the Ravalli County official COVID-19 website. The latest Special Press Release has commonly asked Questions and Answers, including what "Isolation," "Quarantine," and "Close Contact" mean.

COVID-19 can be spread by people with no symptoms. So, even if you feel perfectly fine, you should assume that you have been exposed by "community spread" and that adds to the Public Health recommendations of Wearing a mask in public, Washing your hands, and Watching your social distancing. Keep your social circles small.

By the way, a mask needs to cover your nose and mouth, not just the mouth. Free masks are available at the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce.

If you feel sick, stay home! If you have questions, call your health provider.