Community Letter About Preparedness for COVID-19

A letter from the Lewis and Clark County Commissioners

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Lewis and Clark County Community,

Over the last few weeks we have witnessed our community taking quick actions to contain the spread of COVID-19. While we don’t know whether or not we will have a confirmed case in Lewis and Clark County, it’s important we strive to keep us all as healthy and safe as possible.

As we all strive to understand what is happening and keep up with the ever changing information, the response can feel like too much to some, while for others it feels too slow. Without physical evidence of an emergency like flooding or fire, it’s hard to comprehend the need to respond so quickly.

Lewis and Clark County has an Emergency Operations Plan that includes planning for infectious disease outbreaks. We’ve worked closely with Lewis & Clark Public Health, state and county Disaster and Emergency Services, law enforcement, community stakeholders and others to plan and drill for emergencies like this, hoping it would never arrive, but knowing we need to be prepared. We are all in communication and doing all we can to support the ongoing efforts of our Public Health team.

While Lewis and Clark Public Health and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services remain in the lead on this public health emergency, Lewis and Clark County government is actively working to support their efforts while keeping critical County services operational. We are taking steps to protect the health and safety of our employees. We are communicating with our first responders, on whom we will all depend as this continues to develop in our community, to ensure they are safe and have what they need. We’ve suspended non-essential travel and training, we’re examining our leave policies to ensure our sick employees stay home and those with children not in school can work remotely, and we’re working to adapt to provide services through virtual methods. 

There may come a time when some services are suspended, but as of now, we are working to adjust our operations to continue to serve our community.

The best way to stay up-to-date on all this is to check our website often. You can also follow our Facebook page at Lewis and Clark County Government (@LCCoGovernment) for updates.

We need your help to contain this and can’t emphasize enough how important it is to follow the Public Health Guidelines:

  • Cover your cough. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow.
  • Don’t shake hands. Avoid unnecessary contact by not shaking hands, hugging or kissing as greetings. Find other, non-contact ways to say hello.
  • Leave space. Maintain a 6-foot radius between yourself and others in public spaces. (Droplets that may carry influenza and COVID-19 can commonly travel up to 6 feet.)
  • Think it through. If you would normally reconsider attending an event during flu season, reconsider it now. People over 60 and those with pre-existing respiratory, cardiac conditions, or who are immunocompromised should avoid all large gatherings. 

Know that we care about you and will do all we can to keep our community safe.

In community spirit, 

Lewis and Clark County Commissioners

Susan Good Geise

Jim McCormick

Andy Hunthausen

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